6/10 Mike Staff review, 12 June 2012
For today's reviewing session we're without internet so I am having to write these reviews based entirely on the music, without the aid of any supplementary handy facts to pad things out. Here's a new one from the increasingly unpredictable Sub Pop, who seem to be taking the same route as 4AD lately - opting to ignore genre boundaries altogether rather than pushing for a label-wide aesthetic. Now if we get something from one of those two I don't know if it's going to be searing punk rock, expletive-laden hip-hop, electropop, indie rock...I just don't know who they are any more!
This one is fairly inoffensive and sticks rigidly to the indie pop tradition, but I don’t see the band really injecting a lot of ideas or personality of their own. It's reminding me of The Shins a lot, which isn't such a bad thing, and there's touches of Girls and 12 Rods to the delivery. Quite appealing really. The singer's voice has a bit of Billy Corgan-esque nasality to it, but there's none of that band's angst and bombast...ultimately it's one of those records where I can't find a lot of fault with what they're doing but it's a road so well-trodden that it sounds familiar and predictable even on the first listen. There's a drifty number, 'Million Miles', that hints at a bit of Why?/TV on the Radio-esque weirdness and makes my ears prick up briefly but then they follow that up with a totally tame Lemonheads-a-like bit of indie pop. It's okay.
The tunes are catchy, the recording is totally acceptable...but there's nothing I'm really connecting to here, it's just 6music-oriented indiepop-by-numbers. I don't want to be too scathing because it's not unlistenable but the Sub Pop I grew up with put out records I could get excited about - and can still get excited about. What happened, dudes?
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