It's the new one. The songs are longer, and their names are way longer, but other than that it's familiar territory. Red Sparowes haven't shown themselves to be shapeshifters like Do Make Say Think, nor have they given themselves over to atmosphere like Saxon Shore, nor descended into black and inescapable madness like Tarentel. I think I knew what I was getting into when I got the album, and I'm glad to have it. It's different from the first in mostly superficial ways, which as far as I'm concerned is a good thing. It does, however, show a bit of the "sophomore slump" phenomenon - it's necessarily not as fresh, being a second album, but it seems that these songs were the result of work instead of inspiration. There are fewer surprising and exhilarating moments than on At The Soundless Dawn but that is not to say there are none at all. This album, at the risk of sounding pretentious, feels more like the soundtrack to a destroyed world than the soundtrack to a world being destroyed.
I won't bother you with the track names - they're unbelievably long. Like novella long. You can find the names here in their entirety - they're being cropped for bandwidth purposes. "The Great Leap Forward..." is a sweet opener. They get a great start off with the hard-to-soft-to-hard structure that they're so good at. The guitars really soar and when it gets quiet, it doesn't sound forced. "We Stood Transfixed..." is, unfortunately, a stumble. The main melody doesn't sound right with the bass or the accompanying guitars, and they end up sounding like an amateur parody of themselves. It takes off during the chorus section but then dumps you right back into the weak travelling part of the song, and pretty much flops. "Like the Howling Glory..." is a bit long to start, but has a relatively solid growing sound. The next few tracks are pleasant but not noteworthy, though the second half of "A Message of Avarice" is especially good. The final two tracks constitute their own movement, really, and it's pretty filthy. "Millions Starved..." has kind of a false start but then kicks ass after finding its way. The last track isn't quite as strong, nor is it as epic as the final track on At The Soundless Dawn, but it's pretty good nonetheless. It's like a kid with ADHD - too much going on and not enough focus, but plenty of heart so we'll give it a B.
I like the album, and I'm sure it will grow on me as the previous one did, although probably not quite as much. So if you were hoping for a complete reinvention of the post-rock-instrumental wheel from these guys, or even a significant revision of their original sound, you're out of luck, bud. However, if you enjoyed their last album and wish it was twice as long, or liked half of it and want to swap out some tracks with something just like it, you're golden! Hope you like these two tracks, anyway.
Oops. Had dead links here for like 3 months. Sorry to whoever tried to download them. I'll get some files up soon.
I'm pretty sure I got this song off Audiogalaxy, maybe 6 years ago, and I've rediscovered it and a couple others by Dissolve at least once a year since then. And yet, I've never bought or even downloaded any of their albums. What the hell? Well, I'll fix that on my next trip to Amoeba. It's from "Third Album For The Sun," a super-early Kranky release from 1997 - Dissolve's second and final album. It's got a real floaty, spacey sound, lots of guitars with wah and reverb all over the place. The chorus on this song gives it a kind of Spiritualized feel (well, not really), but the backing track could just as easily be an unusually active Windy & Carl song. If you're a fan of, say, Landing or Yume Bitsu, or any of those other space-rock and shoegazer type bands, Dissolve is probably a good bet - and this is old school, too. People will say, "Oh, is that the new Slowdive? (or whatever)" and you'll say, "What, dude? This song is almost 10 years old. I used to listen to it at recess behind the backstop of the kickball field." See, now that's some serious cred.
This was a track off the Heavy Lifting EP, which I believe came out a little after their excellent self-titled album. If it's a B-side from the self-titled, I can understand why it was left out - it has a different feel, a little lighter and more upbeat than most of the songs on that album, light and upbeat as it was. But "Straight A's" has great vocal harmonies and a nice, catchy little melody pervading it. I often find myself whistling the opening licks of the song. The lyrical content I can't vouch for, but in my opinion Ambulance LTD were never especially strong on writing - overall songwriting is their forte, but if you don't think too hard about it, the words still sound good - in your ears. Enjoy.
Introducing a new feature at Robobobosexual: the single-song post. Hey, everyone else is doing it! So this is the first of many posts where I'll be selecting great songs and recommending them without the rest of the album - out of ignorance, usually. So, if you like the song, say so, and if you know the album and like it, also say so! Without further ado, here's a random good song.
I don't know much about Golden Arm Trio, but as you will find out in the song, the music they make is of the small chamber orchestra type. This song is easily recommended to anyone who likes A Silver Mt. Zion, Dirty Three, Rachel's, or Esmerine. It's very minor key, but not quite as unrelentingly mournful as ASMZ's first album, nor as active as Rachel's or Esmerine. It's very beautiful, and I have some other tracks which are also good, but this one is my favorite. Good modern-classical music is getting easier to come by with such people as Max Richter, Eluvium, and such, but it's good to have all sorts to choose from when you feel like a classical freakout. Apparently the main guy in Golden Arm Trio is doing the soundtrack for A Scanner Darkly, so keep an eye out for that too.
Update: I've listened to the album and it's way weirder than I thought it would be. But it's tight. You should check it out, it reminds me of Tin Hat Trio now more than Rachels. There's some weird piano/horn action going on. Here's another track, using the same melody in a different way. Here's "Swift Ship Sailing."