Lets face it, the indie music scene has a bad habit of bolstering innocent music acts to flavor of the month status, only to drop them down to a level which can never be grown on. Sure every now and again there are exceptions, but whens the last time you've listened to a song by The Subways
or threw on an album by The Vines
? You probably don't remember, but its not your fault; these bands are merely victims of the system, here today gone tomorrow. The latest band to take on this label features a cool name, vocals that do not drag, but an overall sound that does, and after a brief spot of sunlight this summer, has now faded into darkness, just as they have chose it.
Indeed that was a crappy lead-in for introducing the band I Love You, But I've Chosen Darkness
but whatever; the previously unknown and unheard (of) group from Austin, Texas shows their stuff on their 2006 debut, Fear Is On Our Side
. The sound made here is poppy but it is not light, good as a group effort but individually musicians do not really stack up. Simply put, this album is one good song played 12 times over (plus the only distinguishable title track, which is distinguishable for the only reason that it is an instrumental) which gives the illusion of consistent substance existing here. Fear Is On Our Side
is a difficult listen not only due to the length of it, but the monotonous and seemingly lifeless tunes that occupy the time. On the bright side, at least the monotonous tune is a good one.
We've all heard music from bands in the past which hurt our ears, weather they be because of the turned up volume, the out of tune guitar, or maybe Ben Gibbard was singing; this album shines in the way that it is very listenable and will not hurt your ear drums. The voice of vocalist Christian Goyer is produced with the idea of being more spoken than it is sung. A mixture of both can be found on the opening track, "The Ghost"
which has the opening verse sound like a warm up lap, band proceeds slowly and with walking narration provided by Goyer, only to kick it up to jogging speed for the first chorus and rest of the tube, with a higher voice being used and the music gaining tempo. As compared to the rest of this album, it sticks out for not only making the first impression, but for actually having some degree of variety in it, changing tempos and showing a sign of light. Would the rest of the album proceed as such?
The next track features the group's bassist Edward Robert which leads "According To Plan"
in shaping the song and playing a groove for the rest of the group to follow. The input is nice but one alright bass line a song per album simply won't cut it, Robert is a background character, which isn't so bad since many bands have gotten by without much of a rhythm section (re: Metallica
) but in some cases just "getting by" leads to forgetfulness, and a band forgotten is a band not making it by. With the flaw of unmemorable musical moments aside, another way this song (and as a whole, the album) suffer is due to the fact that there are so many other bands that sound just like this. All it takes is a listen of "According To Plan"
to figure it out, the band says they're influenced by "music" and it seems that "music" really means "every band that's popular now". The next song sounds just like this one, but thanks to the opening decent guitar play between Goyer and fellow guitarist/keyboardist Ernest Salez which very much recalls a less irritating Bloc Party
. The chorus is basically Goyer repeating "It's the last time" about too many times over a more alive music section than before. Breaks in between sung parts are another problem though, as not only does it sound like the song is being hung out to dry, the uninteresting lyrics suddenly become even less interesting and this takes away from the band.
It's not great, but it ain't too bad. If the goal of this band were to be the most "eh. they're alright" band in the music business today, then they have succeeded. They can make themselves interesting and hopefully do so in the future, because if they make another Fear Is On Our Side
, there won't be an further future.