Review Summary: Eating a bowl of sugar while watching an after school Bible special.
The worst kind of album to review is an atonal record; one where an opinion is formulated early on in the tracklist, but repeat listens must be sat through in order to give the album a fair shot. Waking Lines
, the debut full-length from British band Patterns
, fits this description in spades. So needless to say, this review will be rather short.
As was griped about similarly in a review for Painted Palms
’s recent debut Forever
, it’s frustrating to hear Patterns
emulate the psychedelic pop sensibilities of artists past and do nothing to truly make the sound their own. What makes this even worse is the band’s decision to drape a veil of reverb and fuzz over their songwriting with the blunt incorporation of shoegaze. The result: indistinct songwriting that’s delivered in a blur of cloudy sound. Over the course of Waking Lines
, none of the album’s ten tracks make an impression deeper than surface level enjoyment of aesthetic loveliness.
What knocks that appeal down a peg is how this bright, shimmering demeanor becomes unbearably overbearing. Track after track of unbridled upbeat overtones truly wears down on the ear, like a film without a single antagonist. It’s of course splendid to feel happy, but the appeal of joy diminishes when there’s no contrast to compare its enjoyment against. While the music is a serious offender on this account, the vocal delivery may be worse, as the lack of singing talent causes the high-pitch to become tiresome quickly.
Maybe the following memo needs to be delivered to freshmen musicians who wish to compose psychedelic pop:
- Records other than Pet Sounds
and Merriweather Post Pavilion DO
- Guitar effects =/= songwriting.
- A debut record is meant to establish YOUR
name, not celebrate your influences.
Harsh? Perhaps. True? Without question.