Hunx and His Punx – Street Punk album review

We’ve been hearing it for decades now; almost from the outset of punk rock itself came the battle cry, ‘punk is dead!’ By now, it’s practically a marketing slogan. And while its generally acknowledged that yes, punk as a movement has been dead for several decades now, punk as a genre, just like any genre, can never really die. All that is needed is for one band to work in the same vein, and if all the ingredients come together just right, instant resurrection is obtained. Easier said than done, of course, as countless bargain bin failures can attest.

While nothing can turn back the clock on a culture that no longer exists, and nothing can bring back your youth, if it’s loud, fast, aggressive, snotty music from a band who doesn’t give a fuck and are more than happy to tell you, then Hunx and His Punx’ Street Punk will be instantly accepted. Chugging out of the speakers with the lowest of lo fi sludge, the record sounds as though it was recorded in the same makeshift garage shack/recording studio as early Misfits output. Tracks like “Everyone’s A Pussy (Fuck You Dude)” and “Don’t Call Me Fabulous” barrel in like a locomotive; their only lyrics, their titles, shouted at breakneck speeds over fuzzy, throbbing instrumentations, both screeching to a halt in under a half minute each. In fact, the only misstep in the album is also its longest, coming in at 3:48.

“Street Punk” draws obvious inspiration from Suicidal Tendencies, and “Born Blonde” almost subconsciously reminds of The Detroit Cobras. Misfits sonic textures (or lack thereof, as the case may be) and melodies abound, perhaps (and surprisingly) most noticeable on “Mud In Your Eyes,” which also recalls the 60s girl group sounds of the band’s debut record, Too Young To Be In Love. Bassist Shannon Shaw lends her vocals to several tracks, balancing the sleeze of singer Seth Bogart with a bit of punk sultriness.

Thankfully, the other abundant element of Too Young to be left to the wayside on this attempt is the extreme limp-wristed campiness, and the high, nasal whine of a stereotypical sex-crazed homosexual. Bogart still shimmies around onstage in mesh and leather costumes that would turn heads even at the Folsom Street Fair (a style not too many degrees removed from Iggy and other punk pioneers, truth be told), and the lyrics still drip with aggressive homoeroticism, but the nails-on-a-chalkboard, clichéd snivel is gone, allowing the listener to focus more on the amazingly catchy hooks and witty lyrics, all considering.

The line between the punk and gay subcultures has always been a bit thinner than some would like to admit, and that is certainly one way to view this act: through his camp, Bogart is able to call attention the shared elements of two very different groups. But if asked, he would probably make no such claims. And why should he? The music speaks for itself.

Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus album review

There are really only one or two good reasons that justify naming your band Fuck Buttons. The first acceptable answer is that you’re just really into zippers, and abhor any competitive fasteners. The second is that you need some kind of gimmick to garner attention, ostensibly, because the music is incapable of doing that on its own accord. The latter, unfortunately, appears to be the case with Bristol, England, duo Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power. Their fourth full length album since formation in 2004, Slow Focus is a textbook exercise in futility; as quintessential a modern-music-as-representation-of-callow-vapid-culture as you could possible look for.

While anyone who knows me knows electronic and/or experimental ‘music’ is not exactly my forte, I like to think I can, at the very least, appreciate those pioneering or expanding the genre. However, here there is simply nothing to appreciate. Every song follows the exact same formula; simple loops, systematically added ad nausem, until the resulting collection of noise would physically come crashing down if even one more track was added. And yet, despite this myriad of sound, no track ever moves beyond its starting point; the seeming complexity is completely artificial. Not at one point is anything ever said. Not suggested, not inferred, nor beaten into the listener’s skull; without any kind of statement, be it agreeable or argumentative, Slow Focus represents the worst kind of artistic attempt, one that does nothing but waste the participant’s time.

A collection of just seven songs, over half extend beyond 7 and a half minutes, and two reaching past the 10 minute mark. That’s an extremely long time to ask for an audience, especially when offering absolutely nothing in return. For this very reason, skipping ahead yields negligible results any time it is attempted; it will save you time, but you’ll be in exactly the same place, thematically. Like running on the treadmill at the gym; there may be more people in the room when you finish, but you’re exactly where you started. Had actual instrumentalists been forced to play these drudgeries, their aimlessness would have become blatantly obvious, at the very least cutting each track’s length in half.

In addition to being two to three times too lengthy, all songs on the album suffer from being virtually indistinguishable from one another. Critiques of boring, uninteresting frivolity, and shallow, bland annoyance apply to all at once, and none in particular. While “The Stalker” titularly brings to mind Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 cinematic masterpiece, its aural qualities fail to evoke any such comparisons. “Year Of The Dog” stands out as the worst in a bevy of contenders, trying oh so hard to convince the listener of its depth and brevity while relying on clichés that would make The Simpsons writers blush. Every aural clue used in 2001: A Space Odyssey to conjure the spooky, mysterious, powerful and otherworldly emotions, is repeated here in far less classy a fashion.

While it may well be that technology continues made computer based and experimental music easier and more financially feasible and lucrative than traditional instrumentation, it does not change the fact that not everyone is capable of creating good music. Hung and Power may well be very talented individuals in thousands of other fields, but music, electronic or otherwise, is not their field.

David Lynch – The Big Dream album review

As with anything director, writer, editor, world renounced eccentric and, now musician David Lynch does, little description is needed beyond simply mentioning his name. At this point in his career, his unquestionable auteur status has entered his surname the popular consciousness and lexicon as an adjective: Lynchian. And The Big Dream, his second full length release under his own name, embodies everything Lynchian is understood to entail. But while his name might be the largest marketable feature, the work stands on its own, regardless of its author. The Big Dream is an expertly created soundscape, reminiscent largely of Daniel Lanois’ production work (especially on Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind) and of the alluring spookiness of Louisiana Swamp Pop… with a focus on the dark unease that lies beneath the mundane, of course.

Like his best cinematic works, the record’s strength lies in Lynch’s ability to simultaneously establish and undermine the tone simply by referencing an existing piece (which may or may not be obscure, depending on your point of reference). Several times throughout the record, and especially on the lead, title track, Lynch’s thin, high vocals eerily echo the speaking voice of Roky Ericson, the famously institutionalized, schizophrenic martyr for 60s psychedelia. Heavily distorted but never seeming processed or manipulated, he at times speaks, at times chants (it would be hard to call what he does ‘singing’ in the traditional sense) with a hypnotic, ethereal delivery comparable to a snake-charmers flute, lulling the listener into a strange, unnerving calmness. Rootless, as if carried on the wind, (or the backs of spirits), his vocals are instruments themselves; it matters less what he is saying than how it is said (though the apparent simplicity of the lyrics is anything but happenstance).

The true triumph of the album is the music, or rather, the sonic landscape created. Equal parts Daniel Lanois and CC Adcock (though neither had a hand in production), guitar riffs streak through the haze, sluggish through layers of echo and reverb. This is a record that would not exist if it weren’t for post production, and a prime example of how to use such effects to benefit, rather than hinder, the creation of a song.

Self described as originating as “ blues jams, then go sideways from there” the album does have a definite blues feel, from a time when R&B actually stood for rhythm and blues; “Sun Can’t Be Seen No More” being the modern equivalent to an Excello single worthy of Guitar Gable or Slim Harpo. All tracks on the album are originals, save for Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of Hollis Brown.” Lynch claims he covered Nina Simone’s version, yet all I hear is The Stooges’ take on it, with an added overemphasis on every syllable.

While the record still has a few missteps (which may be attributed to personal taste more than anything), musically, it is a far more sound effort that Lynch’s first attempt, Crazy Clown Time. Like his films, the album only stands to grow with continued exposure time, and certainly rivals much that single careered musicians put out.

Flyleaf – Who We Are EP review

In the wake of the political correctness push, we all know it; stereotyping is bad, in music as much as elsewhere. And so, when handed music I am unfamiliar with, I make a concentrated effort not to do any kind of research it prior to listening. First and foremost, I want the music to speak for itself. (Post listen is a different story.) I want to judge it on its qualities (or lack thereof) and the reactions they elicit in me, rather than the image the band projects, or what other supposed ‘taste-makers’ think. I would like to think of this as a rather open-minded approach, but sometimes, it merely confirms the stereotypical trappings of a genre.

As is the case with Flyleaf, and their newest release, an EP entitled Who We Are. Less an actual EP, more a single with a few live tracks tagged on for good measure, the collection offers everything you might expect from a female fronted, radio friendly rock band. Well, everything you might expect from a female fronted, Christian, radio friendly rock band.

Like all bands trying to distance themselves from the commercially murderous “Christian” qualifier, Flyleaf claim to be less a ‘Christian’ band, than merely a band comprised of Christian musicians. They do admit, though, that their faith comes out in their work. Unlike every other Christian-but-not-Christian band that says the same thing, you can almost believe this one, listening to the EP.

The only new song, “Something Better” is not religious, as much as it is just positive, which stands out more that anything. Sonically, it’s the type of heavy rock that appeals mostly to young, (stereotypically) lower class adolescents of both genders. Full of clichés strung together in an attempt to reach at some greater depth, it is angsty without direction, echoing the confusion and emotional roller coasters of middle school. Chugging rhythms, crunchy guitars, crashing cymbals and wailing vocals create a cacophonous wall of sound that only sounds welcome to those currently enrolled in 7th grade.

But what initially struck me, both with “Something Better” and the live tracks, was the total lack of violence, neither lyrically, either implied or expressly stated, nor musically, common in the genre. Boring, sure, clichéd, yes, but by delivering an inescapably positive message, it seemed as if they were doing something unique. This was before I knew it was ‘Christian.’

On this collection, not until “Sorrow” does the ‘faith based influence’ come through. “Soon he will perforate the fabric of the peaceful by and by” was just another one of those immature nonsensicals that proliferate as the album plays, until “he” becomes “He,” explaining both the line and the uplifting tone. (And, stereotypically, the blandness.)

Even without the association of religion, Who We Are is not a particularly strong offering; the live tracks may satisfy current followers (no pun intended) but aren’t going to win new fans, and the single doesn’t have much power outside of the target audience. If, as the title suggests, this is a declaration of the band’s identity, then there’s nothing to be gained by investigating further. However, Flyleaf does succeed as a stereotypical, upbeat, Christian heavy rock band that’s not so damn, well, Christian.

The Sniffs – Barrio Element album review

Ever throw on a new record and swear you’ve heard several of the songs before? The sound is simply too warm, too analog, the songwriting too strong to have possibly been written in this era of cold production and vapid lyricism. They’ve got to be obscure covers, from a long forgotten Lou Reed bootleg, a rare 45 recorded by some Midwestern high school garage band back in 1965, an early Clash demo, or maybe a Stooges outtake. Maybe you heard it on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, or on some website dedicated to mid/late-century obscurity. In any case, the result is the same; it’s just too good to be new.

This is what happens upon first hearing The Sniff’s debut album, Barrio Element, except you haven’t heard them before; they’re all originals (minus a “hidden” take on a well known Chris Isaak hit). This is, quite possibly, the strongest new record this year, and easily the first in a long while that cuts directly to the heart of American music, hence the instant familiarity. Here is the very essence, the soul and the spirit of rock n roll, pure and unadulterated.

While the record is influenced in equal parts by garage, blues, rockabilly, new wave, and, yes, punk rock, an initial listen immediately places The Sniffs among the best proto-punk bands, lyrically as well as sonically. Yet, unlike the myriad of other bands claiming such influences, they are emphatically not a punk rock band. If anything, they are a neo-proto-punk band, excluded from the ranks of true proto-punk solely for temporal reasons. Musically, they are every bit as solid (and grimey). Producers Nick Curran (a legendary genre-hopping Austin guitarist who, sadly, passed away before the album’s completion) and Nico Leophante expertly coax a much larger and more raw sound that one might initially expect from a trio. “Gaston Ave.,” “Phone Booth” and “Waiting For The Law” are fleshed out by electric piano (courtesy of another Austin icon, Denny Freeman), an attribute that, on the surface, seems frivolous, yet in practice, lends a sonic texture both unexpected and surprisingly appropriate.

Beyond merely its sound, however, the band manages to capture an older style of songwriting, one focused on story rather than situation. While not necessarily implicitly stated, a narrative is usually implied, such as in “Ray Rey” and “Scraps of Town,” demanding the listener’s participation, sometimes without consent. It is a cinematic approach, in the vein of Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. There are no pines for lost loves or self-centered dwellings. The songs are unapologetic, honest and sneeringly apathetic, as any good punk or proto-punk track should be.

Rock n roll has always, at its core, been a music of rebellion, and Barrio Element is a battle cry against the current disgraceful state of music, as all good rock n roll album have been. Ironically, while past rebels sought to make something new, The Sniffs have gone the other way, and created something old (and I say that as the highest of complements), yet their message is the same. It’s worth your time to seek this record out; you may just find your new favorite band, and it will give you bragging rights to say ‘I listened to them when…’

Ethel Azama – Exotic Dreams album review

It’s a rather paradoxical time for obscure releases from days gone by; on one hand, the recent resurgent interest in all things vintage has put old vinyl records in high demand. Often times, the more arcane and unknown, the better; a higher reverence can be bestowed on releases not out in digital formats. Yet, on the other hand, digital still remains the easiest way to reach a new audience, just as often rescuing forgotten masterpieces and artists from the depths of time. But just what determines if an older album is fit for digital re-issue?

Ethel Azama’s Exotic Dreams originally saw release in 1958. Ethnically Japanese, Azama made a decent living as a lounge singer in Hawaii, and all three seemingly irreconcilable elements come together with varying states of success on the album. Ultimately, however, it’s a bit too kitschy to appeal to the masses, and too bland to really strike a chord with jazz aficionados.

Comprising nearly entirely of standards and show tunes (oftentimes one in the same), Azama’s voice comes off as too polite, too overly emphasized, too “white.” This is stereotypical late 50s lounge singing at it’s dullest. Certainly, that was part of Azama’s commercial appeal at the time; lacking an Asian accent, she could sound exactly like the bored white middle class housewives lounge owners hoped to draw in. “Two Ladies In Da Shade (of Da Banana Tree)” is perhaps the quintessential example of just how much fun one really can suck out of a show tune. The other standards suffer the same vacuous, faux-chic, hollow sheen, as is often the case with white-sourced, female ‘jazz’ singers of the late 50s.

The entire thing is not a total disaster, however. The record does offer quite a bit of unique and creative energy on several tracks, most impressively the closing “Autumn Leaves.” A standard of standards, here is it almost unrecognizable sung in Azama’s native Japanese and accompanied by the koto and a heavy helping of chimes and gongs. “Lazy Afternoon,” riding in on cymbals and chimes, is spookily unsettling, hinting at a very real danger just out of sight, not at all the relaxing tune the lyrics suggest. Arranger Paul Conrad hits mostly when arranging songs that keep Azama’s background in mind, (“Mountain High, Valley Low,” “Green Fire”) but even the very Pacific instrumentation of “Kawohikukpulani” cannot keep it from falling flat on it’s face, like roughly half of the collection. Given that all tracks clock in at around 3 minutes, a relic of the time, the misses are never more offending than they need to be.

Certainly, lounge records are ephemeral, and it’s silly to think one would hold up in today’s atmosphere. However, even in 1958, this record was painfully behind the times. In the jazz world, Bop was already in full swing. Innovative records (to this day) by the likes of Monk, Jimmy Smith, Art Blakely, Cannonball Adderley and so many others were carrying the music in a new direction that when viewed either from near or afar, the verdict is the same. This record is square.

Sebadoh – The Secret EP review

Although the band members probably wish it wasn’t so, it is impossible to mention Sebadoh without the obligatory mention of Dinosaur Jr. One simply would not exist without the other; in the late 1980s, bassist Lou Barlow created Sebadoh as an outlet for his creativity when Dinosaur Jr guitarist J Mascis, in no uncertain terms, banned his contributions. It was really Mascis’ loss, though, as Sebadoh consistently turned out more interesting, if less commercially successful, tracks. Barnett parted ways with Mascis and the band in 1989, concentrating on various other projects. Ultimately, Sebadoh’s last collection of new material was released in 1998.

But, just like the recent resurrection of Dinosaur Jr (which included Barlow), Sebadoh too, has risen from the depths. The Secret EP, the newly released disc, comprising the 5 tracks that first appeared on the band’s Band Camp page last year (their first collection of new material in 15 years), is that increasingly rare accomplishment; paradoxically fresh and familiar. Picking up seemingly where they left off, each tracks is packed tight with the lo-fi, early 90s angst, attitude, and sonic schizophrenia established fans have come to expect. Yet, at the same time, the songs are current and viable, fitting perfectly alongside the modern DIY rock canon. Penned mostly from Barlow’s split from his partner of 25 years, the record is as miserable, lovesick and numb as one might expect, but the overall product is strangely uplifting.

While used to the point of exhaustion in others’ recent releases, the droning vocals of the lead track, “Keep The Boy Alive” immediately set the one-day-at-a-time tone of the track, and the record. Sebadoh’s calling card of fuzzy guitars and a simple, throbbing rhythm section take up the cause, forming the perfect accompaniment to a bad mood. In all reality, such collaboration is not necessarily reliant on lyrics, but the mature acceptance, “When I’m feeling sorry let it go / ‘Cause that won’t change a thing” sets it apart from the average pity parties of songs of lost love.

“My Drugs” is an up-tempo realization of possible substance abuse without glamorizing either side, and “All Kinds” reminds of upper Midwest underground rock and punk. “Arbitrary High” is perhaps the highlight of the entire thing, though choosing the strongest song is like picking favorite children; they all have their strengths.

The release of The Secret EP comes hand in hand with the news of a full length LP, reportedly titled Defend Yourself, also to be comprised of new studio material. Not only does this 5 track teaser stand alone as a strong collection, but it whets the appetite for the forthcoming release, reminding old fans just why they listen, and bringing new fans into the fold.

The Blood Arm – Infinite Nights album review

The task of the critic has shifted over the years it would seem. Instead of commenting on cultural shifts and artistic exploration, they have become thesauruses, (or is that thesauri?) forced to come up with new and imaginative ways to say ‘boring, uninspired junk.’ Case in point: The Blood Arm’s newest release, Infinite Nights, a record so full of forgettable fluff it could possibly be mistaken for a roll of building insulation.

It’s not that the band didn’t try. They wrote at the lowest common denominator. Songs like “Wrong Side of the Law,” bleating “who could blame two people so in love?” and “Happy Hour,” with its announcement, “we wanna dance ’til morning / we wanna dance ‘til the evening” certainly shoot straight to the very foundation of the target audience. We get it, you’re young and want to have fun and party all night. Great, so have most young people over the course of modern history. Unless you have some new insight on that mindset (something the entire album sorely lacks), than there really is no reason to fill an album with vapid lyrics and sleep inducing melodies proclaiming your love of the party.

Nearly all other aspects of the record fail as well. The album opens with the exact drumbeat intro of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” perhaps the quintessential example of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” concept. Except this production is the anti-Spector; sparse, thin, cheap. It could be argued that that is precisely the effect the band is after; calling attention to that polar opposition. Certainly a thought worth entertaining, but given the album’s immature, utterly childish approach to everything else, I fear that may be a stretch.

The guitar on tracks like “Oh Ali Bell!” and the title track, “Infinite Nights” sounds as though whoever is playing it just picked up the instrument a few weeks ago. Nearly every single chord change is accented by the sound of fingers drug up and down the strings. The strumming consists purely of downstrokes; chunky and awkward, with no punctuation. This is fine for a beginner; every player was there at some point, but it is completely juvenile and amateurish to include on a record. (Unless it is necessary for the song. Here is it not!)

Lyrically, the record falls far short of attaining any kind of depth. “Another Step Along The Way” seems to include every cliché of bad teenage songwriting. Nearly every track on the collection tries far too hard to be angsty, deep, and introspective. “Matters of the Heart” changes direction several times, it’s overall weak delivery a clear indication the band had absolutely no idea where they wanted the song to go. Its overt reference to the Beatles’ “Day In The Life” simply does not work as an excuse to throw a little bit of everything into the mix.

Having said all that, there are some gems in the (mostly) vast wasteland. “Sex Fiend” is a great punkish, post new-wave tune reminiscent of the best Pixies, and the single, “Midnight Moan” is a perfectly acceptable distorted-guitar-and-drum song, with a great piano riff thrown in for good measure. In the scheme of things, even “Torture” is, ironically, one of the easiest listens on the collection.

Overall, Infinite Nights is definitely worth skipping.

CSS – Planta album review

If pressed to narrow down the single most obnoxious thing about modern music, the most unredeemable aural sin, I would point my finger squarely at the synthesizer. It is at the root of all callow, cold, emotionless, mechanical noise that has crept its way into nearly every genre; at this point, it qualifies as an infestation. But just like spiders, mice and other pests, they do have their purpose when filling their place. And, while I’m still not a fan, Brazil’s CSS (abbreviated from the Portuguese ‘tired of being sexy’) may quite well offer a great example of where the synth belongs (besides ‘the dumpster’!)

The band’s fourth release, but first since parting ways with sole male bandmate Adriano Cintra, Planta is a (mostly) trim, compact collection clocking in at just under 45 minutes. Lead track “Honey” is catchy as hell without ever becoming annoying. Lead vocalist, Lovefoxxx’s straightforward, slightly droll delivery perfectly accentuates the upbeat, danceable rhythm. Never for a second is the track taken completely seriously, either by the band or the listener, (the chorus, “you can’t turn me on / and I will never turn on you” highlights the lost-in-translation mild absurdity of the lyrics) but that’s the point. It is silly, it is absurd. “Honey” is the perfect soundtrack to a slushy spring snowboarding/skiing session in the terrain park. Just as “Into the Sun” suggests, the tunes are good times with friends in nice weather, carefree. What more can you ask from a song?

With the sole exception of “Teenage Tiger Cat” whose schoolyard chant cadence wears on the nerves extremely quickly, the band seems to sense jut how long it can support the humor before getting stale. However, like most electronic heavy bands, about half of Planta veers into techno/club territory. “Frankie Goes To North Hollywood” while a great title, is the most annoying example, but “Sweet” and “Teenage Tiger Cat” are almost as bad. Lead single, “Hangover,” as well as “Hangout,” “Too Hot” and “Faith In Love” introduce an inviting pop sensibility. “Faith” in particular is strong; while the vocals float breathily along, the plinking keyboard ensures the song, and record, stay firmly grounded. While the lyrics themselves might not make much sense, their delivery is exactly what the song ordered.

But beyond just the music, the cover artwork is incredible, deserving of just as much praise. Striking and unsettling, the four turban-headed CSS “spore” is at once familiar and foreign; just normal enough to keep your attention, just gruesome enough to make you look away.

When I say Planta is a listenable record, that is the highest complement I can bestow upon it. It did not covert me into an electronic-pop fan; I can’t imagine a time that I’d ever specifically want to spin it again, nor would I actively seek it out. I may even change the channel on the radio. However, if it were out of my control, I would have no problem hearing most of these tracks. And that, my friends, is more than I ever thought I would say about synth pop.

City and Colour – The Hurry and The Harm album review

Ah, rockstar-dom: perhaps nowhere else does there exist another profession laden with as many clichés (insert Spinal Tap reference here). Among those at the top of the list is the soft, acoustic, singer-songwriter release and/or side project required from a hard rock front man. Enter City and Colour, the solo project from Dallas (a city) Green (a color), formerly of Ontario’s post-hardcore group Alexisonfire. While Green has released a few records under the City and Color name while his main band was still together, The Hurry and The Harm marks the first output since Alexisonfire’s breakup.

While it is certainly admirable for a musician to want to expand their repertoire and explore further styles, sometimes it is better to keep that exploration close by; release of every thing written isn’t always advisable. That is not to say Hurry is an atrocious, tortuous listening endeavor; it’s not at all, but it’s also not the strongest collection of material ever presented.

The songs themselves are passable enough. Most clock in around 3 or 4 minutes, feature Green’s approachable, acoustic guitar and are filled with vague, slightly nonsensical phrasings that could be applied to nearly every listener’s situation at one time or another. After all, who isn’t “trying to find a direction home” (“Of Time And Space”) or “searching for paradise / [they] can’t seem to find / searching for paradise / for the time of [their] life” (“Paradise”)? Universal themes of growing older and realizing that life isn’t as you imagined your future as a child, of self (re)examination and of constantly searching for some unknown thing that will make everything perfect (“searching” probably being the simple most used word across the album) make these songs perfect tunes for pop radio stations, if the phrase “pop radio” wasn’t synonymous with auto-tuned noise. The musical and vocal stylings tread a fine line; they’re never triumphant, but never completely sad or down either, allowing the listener to project their own feelings into the song.

But it is precisely that which is also the album’s biggest turnoff; there is absolutely nothing about this record that sets it apart from the myriad of other indie pop records. In fact, there is nothing that sets any one song apart from any other on the collection. Green’s airy, breathy falsetto, while fresh on the opening, title track, soon becomes monotonous, at times becoming one long flow of run-on syllables rather than individual words. In “Of Time and Space” and “Take Care,” the vocal actually gets absorbed by the string instrumentation and lost entirely. Unless actually watching the track count change, there is no discernable difference in the sound of “Take Care” and “Ladies and Gentlemen.” With very slight exception, the melodic delivery doesn’t vary. The vocal approach never changes, escalating the mind numb factor to beyond boring before the record even reaches its halfway point. Green declares he’s “not trying to be revolutionary,” but a bit more of a varied approach would go a long way in removing the glaze from the listener’s eyes.