Saturday, July 28, 2018

Nothing : "Dance on the Blacktop"

I found "Tired of Tomorrow" to be too happy and was underwhelmed. While this album might not be full return to the grunge tinged "Guilty of Everything" it does make shoe-gaze great again with more balls behind it than the previous album. Opening with the strong dreamy fuzz of "Zero Day" . This mood is maintained with "Blue Line Baby" that keeps the surreal step back into the 90s going . There are authentic guitar tones and the songs builds into a hooky melody at the end. The new element being introduced on this album is the kind of vintage slacker rock that bands like Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh used to crank out. This first surfaces on "You Wind Me Up". Having listened to a great deal of this back in the day it feels pretty spot on and is a good song on it's own two feet not totally dependent on the nostalgia.

I think I had to listen to "Plastic Migraine" four times before I plugged in and connected to the song. Some of this is due to the highly floating atmosphere the song is thick with. Upon a more focused listen the vocal melody was found hiding behind the guitar. Granted as I write this I am listening to it with only one ear bud in my right ear , but it seems to be capturing everything enough for me to get the point and last night I listened to this with both working for the stereo effect. "Us / We / Are " feels more like earlier Radiohead. The vocals have really improved on this album. The sense of dynamics is also more polished and proves they can play are more conventional radio rock if they want and are not hiding behind all the effects.

"Hail on Palace Pier" has a more fragile atmosphere as it is stripped down to vocals, bass and drums. This gives it a more post-punk feel. Not surprising since some of these guys are also in Death of Lovers. This song is the closest these two projects have come to having a middle ground. It does build into a more guitar driven style of alternative rock. There more grungey side is indulged on "I Hate the Flowers". While it is not pure Nirvana worship it is easy to hear these influences. "the Carpenters Son" embarks on a more delicate drift into the clouds. Compared to the more compact punch of what they have done earlier in the album this might be pleasant but not as compelling. There bass player is so good until any song where he is not at the center is not among their best work, but for what this is it works. "Hope is Just Another Word With a Hole in It" is a balance of rock drive and ambiance from the surreal guitar tones. It kinda of floats around without solidly hooking me into, but is still pretty decent and spot on for what they do . I'll give this album a 9.5 as it is a pretty solid return for them and was highly enjoyed even if it floats away at the end.

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