When you start a band and create a genuine sound that no one can compare another to, the last thing you should do is take the sound down a very mediocre and predictable path. Distorted Lullabies showcased a band who didn’t know the meaning of the word positive and who used simple chords to create their own sort of atmosphere. Precious sees the same band digressing to a very conservative pattern, and you really have to wonder if this is record company politics or actually Jimmy Gnecco’s decision. Even with this radio friendly approach he manages to produce some quality tracks, but also some very bland ones.
Starting with the pluses, the middle of the record turns out to be pretty strong. Places seems to adapt the structure of the Christmas Canon with a few twists to make it a soft and pretty little pop track. Gnecco’s vocals show they can have pretty high range without overpowering the quiet guitars, which makes the song all the more delicate. In A Minute is the only song Ours’ other guitarist wrote, playing out like a fast-paced Strokes jam, very catchy. Gnecco also threw in a cover of The Velvet Underground’s Femme Fatal, which is essentially a straight cover save a few little additions, and it fits quite well with the album’s sound.
However, the true highlights of the album are the next three songs. Broken introduces the band’s ability to write a giant crescendo for a song, which they put to further use on the next record. Gnecco’s vocals soar carelessly over the music, flying higher and higher, and just when you think he can’t get higher…he does, because he can…The song flows effortlessly into Chapter 2 (Money), with a sound that revisits the first album. The lyrics deal with Gnecco’s problems with Christianity, written in a very clever manner, and sung with heart. If Flowers Turn has to be Ours’ catchiest moment, and because of this just might be the best on the album. The only way I can describe the song is sad happy and beautiful, certainly one of the band’s best tracks ever. It blows me away that this isn’t being overplayed on the radio.
Yes it seems like this is a great album so far…sorry to hype things up, but the sad truth is that surrounding these tracks are generic pop rock songs. The way the album is set up plays out like this: you start pretty bland for three tracks, then for a good run you start to enjoy it, but then near the end you start wishing it would end. The problem with their first album’s layout was essentially the same, they couldn’t keep the quality consistent, and it significantly affects the quality of the record, especially with the conformation to a less unique sound. If I heard this before I heard Mercy I would be very worried the band could easily turn into another tasteless band, but thankfully that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Even if the album is essentially a dud, we get a couple great tracks out of it, so it’s not a complete waste, but it might not be worth everyone’s time…just get If Flowers Turn.