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- Obsidian by Baths
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I was quite a fan of Baths’ previous release ‘Cerulean’ which at its best took the Flying Lotus blueprint and re-housed it in navel gazing electronic indie pop. It was bold and accessible. I had really high hopes for this second release but opener ’Worsening’ does all the description for me. First up the whole sound is very limp and has none of the technicolour of the earlier release. I need more pump and it’s just not doing it despite the excellent vocal sample that provides the main hook, a noise that just about sees the song through.
The real problems start on ‘Miasma Sky’ which is faceless, bloopy electronica with the odd vocal thrown over more in hope than anticipation. ‘Ironworks’ is the first of the album’s minor highlights; a gorgeous slo-mo ballad it uses beautiful string samples over chopped, fizzy beats and a skyscraping vocal line which reaches to the heavens. ‘Ossuary’ is Death Cab-lite with a pounding beat and a thrown on at the last minute vocal line. I have no idea what has occurred between Baths first and second records but a lot of what we are left with is a soulless, tuneless slabs of vapid electronic pop that sadly more recalls Owl City than Postal Service.
There is the odd highlight; the aforementioned beautiful ‘Ironworks’ and the disjointed rhythms of ‘No Past Lives’ finally wakes main man Will Wisenfield up from his stupor and brings in some nice arpeggiated guitar and constructional oddities. The last few tracks seem to throw caution to the wind a bit more and are much more enjoyable as a result, the harsh Nine Inch Nails technoid pounding of ‘Earth Death’ bring a darker-hued finish to the record but it feels like too little too late. It’s hard to be so sure of a record’s merits or lack of them after just two listens so I am fully prepared to be pointed at with sticks and told I am wrong, I don’t know if Baths are aiming at a much more mainstream field than my ears can take but whatever is happening it’s not doing it for me. Though ‘Ironworks’...phew...is gorgeous.
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