Some records grab you on immediate listen, striking deep into your psyche from the very first note. These are the records that stick with us, that stand out in our mind as "masterpieces". And yet, they are rare. Really rare. I have heard very few such records lately, while it seems that the 1990s were full of them. That is, of course, the distorting effect of nostalgia.
The vast majority of records are ones that grow on you over time. Consider Numbered Days by The Meeting Places. On first listen, over a year ago, i thought, "Well, this is pleasant. Sounds like their
previous record." And then i placed it back on the shelf and dug further into the promo stack looking for a record that would slap me between the eyes with that rare sheen of brilliance...
And yet, something kept drawing me back to Numbered Days. This record has been in steady rotation for about a year, and i have not gotten sick of it. In fact, i spent much of January of 2008 with a snippet of a song stuck in my head: just a short guitar bit, and a voice saying "ahhh-aaah something something something". I hate it when those barely recognizable song parts get lodged in memory... It drives me crazy trying to figure them out. [Brendan's Note: Oh sure, blame the half-remembered songs!]
Well, a few days ago i grabbed Numbered Days and threw the disc
into the CD player for the long, boring commute to work. And there, on track
6 of the CD, was The Snippet. The song is called Sink Into Stone, and
vocalist Chase Harris is singing, "you wait aaaaa-loooooone", while a backing
voice makes "ahhh-ahhh" sounds. That and a nice chugging bass riff and soaring
guitars make for a fun tune.
And there are several songs on this record that really work. Actually, none
of the tunes are bad, but of course some are better than others. And despite
the fact that it worked it's way into my brain, i don't think that Sink
Into Stone is one of the best tracks here. Oh sure, it does its job nicely,
and is rather catchy, but The Meeting Places can do so much more.
Take title track Numbered Days, for example. This song features a
nice tapped drum rhythm, light male voice, pleasant female backing vocals,
and guitars that chime along better than anything i have heard since the
last Bethany Curve release.
And then there is The City's Asleep, which starts with a phase shifted
guitar and a thunking tambourine bit, before invoking the spirit of Pale Saints.
Well, i could go on, but you get the picture. The Meeting Places make catchy, dream pop on the lighter end of the shoegazer continuum. This music is light and vaguely droning, which heavily effected guitars and a hushed voice.
I eat this kind of stuff up, and i have to highly recommend this to other fans of the dream pop. There is a lot to like here. It's not the most energetic of records, but there is a depth to the music that is pleasant.
In fact, i can see this being one of the records that i come back to, periodically. It may not have immediately felt like genius, but it is a quality release that has grown on me over time. And those are the records to really look out for.