I had heard some really good things about this album, and one
day i was at Criminal Records with non-Minion affiliate Kerry,
and we both picked up copies of this disc. The next day at the
PostLibyanCave i put it into the stereo for a post-hangover
The album starts off with Umbrella, which features male
vocals and is a decent electro type song. Anywhere Anyone
switches to some deeply-voiced female whose tones sounded familiar.
Checking the liner notes i saw that the voice belongs to Mia
Doi Todd. No clue who that is, but this is a decent trip-hoppy
sort of song.
On the next track, Pillowcase, there is a wierd bit
of fuzz that starts up towards the end of the song. This distortion
is a little annoying on an otherwise okay track.
Fear Of Corners is a great song title and also a nice
mellow instrumental with skittering beats. Towards the end of
the song a constant, monotonous fuzzy rhythm starts up, kind
of like the CD is skipping. I got up to check the player, and
everything appeared fine, and the song did seem to be progressing
under this noise. Strange.
The next track, Everything Is Sooner Than You Think,
and is the one that i had been waiting for. The lyrics are penned
by Brian McMahon (of The For Carnation)
and Rachel Haden (of That Dog), and sung by Haden. However,
this song is burried under that skipping sound. It almost sounds
like the skipping is meant to be percussion, except that it
is layered on top of, and sonically overpowers, every other
element of the song. In fact, it utterly ruins the tune by making
me constantly think that my CD player is screwing up.
The next two tracks are likewise utterly ruined by the presence
of a constant, monotonous, overpowering distortion. On track
8, Fireworks this sound is more subdued, but it still
ruins the track. That's a real shame, because otherwise i like
the keyboard drone on Fireworks. There are moments when
the music actually swells up and covers the distortion, and
i like those moments.
(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan, the next track,
features guest vocals from Death
Cab For Cutie's Benjamin Gibbard. However, the distortion
is increased in volume, becoming the sound of a live wire sparking
electricity. This sparking noise serves as percussion. There
is also some serious fuzzy distortion, like thick static, overpowering
the rest of the sounds. There is some decent electronica buried
underneath, but the song is fed through so much distortion that
all of the sounds are hard to focus on. It is a total waste
of Gibbards vocals, which are lost in the noise.
The final track, Last Songs, is clear and precise. Organ
and acoustic guitar are cut up like one of the end tracks on
is a good song. DNtel uses some harder rhythms than Mouse On
Mars do, but the overall effect is the same.
However, well, when the album was over i was stunned. Over
half of the disc is distorted or covered with so much noise
that i cannot listen to it. Now, i approve of distortion and
feedback, heck, i like Sonic Youth, but this? If i wanted to
listen to a CD skip i would, well, i guess i would find one
that did it on purpose. Why i would want to listen to that i
have no idea.
So i called non-Minion affiliate Kerry and asked her what she
thought of the album. "There was one song that had so much fuzz
that i had to turn it off," she said. She confirmed that this
"noise" is actually on the album, and not that i had just purchased
a screwed up copy of the CD.
So the whole thing is intentional.
Tracers has a theory that sometimes people need to be bitch-slapped
because they get a stupid idea into their heads and then they
run with it. Bitch-slapping them brings them back to reality.
Jimmy Tamborello, who is Dntel, needed to be bitch-slapped pretty
hard before he made this disc. I honestly wonder: what in Brendan's
name was he thinking? What was the point in putting so much
distortion over top of everything that all the rest of
the sounds are buried and lost?
The music is decent, i probably would have given this disc
4 sponges based on the sounds. It's mellow electronica that
is nice enough. Burying it under that noise, well, i'm gonna
take away 3 sponges for that.
This album sucks. I wonder what the heck people were thinking
in telling me it's cool. It's awful. The noise destroys any
artistic value that the the music might have had. Over half
the album is as fun to listen to as a radio that is not quite
tuned to a station.
That's a real shame, because otherwise this showed promise.
I will say it again: what the heck was Tamborello thinking?