Augie March
Watch Me Disappear


2.0
poor

Review

by upagainstthewall USER (10 Reviews)
April 25th, 2009 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Is there a way of blaming Neil Finn for this?

2006’s haunting and spectacular 'Moo, You Bloody Choir' had set us up for Augie March’s evolution into this generation’s Crowded House in a big way, but the band has never embraced Finn a talented songwriter, granted as wholly as with 'Watch Me Disappear,’ going as far as to record it in the man’s Auckland studios. That’s pretty much where his involvement ends, though; Finn didn’t produce this record, nor is he responsible for the further softening of Augie’s sound beyond, y’know, establishing this brand of clever yet overly produced and calculated folk-pop in the first place.

There’s an argument to made, but perhaps we should instead be pointing fingers at Joe Chicarelli (Producer). Fresh off co-producing My Morning Jacket’s unfairly maligned ‘Evil Urges;’ Chicarelli is best known for air-brushing the artistic boundaries of Spirit of the West, Counting Crows, U2, and latter-day Shins. If you’re a long-time fan of Augie March, your reaction to this choice will likely echo your reaction to the record he has helped meticulously craft in Finn’s (presumably pastel-coloured) laboratory, one virtually impossible to feel passionately about one way or the other.

The one major exception is the title track, a sonorous wielding of the group’s prior glory that is far more sinister than anything they’ve touched since Strange Bird (2002). It’s a confident and much needed “see, even with boring production we’re still capable of this” proclamation making what follows, then, the perpetual let-down of a catch: “...but we’re not really interesting in doing that. Check out this boring *** though!” I won’t outright call it an affront to fans who embraced this band’s first two records for their versatile growing pains, but I will say this: if ‘Watch Me Disappears’ yawning chasm really is the end-game for Augie March’s long-gestating maturation, god, what a waste. This is the kind of geriatric soft-pop Glenn Richards could perform onstage in robe and slippers, the gray lull of his pipe-puffing keeping rhythm.

First single “Pennywhistle,” with actual whistle in tow, leads the onslaught of unnecessary blandness. Taking a page from Colin Meloy who else would think to rhyme Aegean Sea and Gallipoli" Richards, his voice toothless under this sheen, knowingly espouses: “Now I summon up Jack, sat up on the hill / The wrong kind of music, the wrong kind of pill … O what beast has my name on its snaggle tooth / And eternal slobber for my finishing youth"” The concept of fleeting youth is a recurrent theme of this record, and appropriately so; Richards is clever enough to acknowledge his maturing as a writer, but that just further begs the question: shouldn’t he know better" Did he really think we’d want to hear Augie March at any stage of their career do their best Rod Stewart on “Farmer’s Son” or write what’s tantamount to a Richard Hawley cover with the exaggerated sweep of “Becoming Bryn”" The bits that sound like Bloody Choir, like “The Slant” and “Dogsday,” fare better but can’t possibly hold up against such a flood of beige.

I’d love to pin how by-rote this all feels on someone or something else, but really, who am I kidding. Blame Neil Finn or Joe Chicarelli all I want, it’s Richards who sits nondescript and comfortable at the heart of this devolution, the rest of the band trading yawns in turn. I feel the need to remind myself they were once capable of a triumph like Strange Bird once able to pull us in with intuitive song structure and chemistry and tension, to pull a monster like “The Drowning Dream” out of their giddy, bet-you-thought-you-had-us-pegged! Sadly, that fundamental ability to surprise us within familiar confines “the true appeal of Sunset Studies (2000), Strange Bird, and the Eric Drew Feldman-helmed bits of Bloody Choir" is missing here. What they’ve run with in its place isn’t horrible, but there’s so little beneath the uniform buzz of its pleasantness that frankly it’s as if, just four albums in, they’ve grown content in merely being.



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user ratings (5)
Chart.
3
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Guys, just stay away from this. It is nothing compared to 'Moo, You Bloody Choir' and if you didnt like 'Moo' there is no way this is going to do anything for you.

itchyandscratchy
April 25th 2009


314 Comments


sounds rly good thanx

upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I think you may have misinterperated the review itchy, or is this sarcasm?This Message Edited On 04.25.09

itchyandscratchy
April 25th 2009


314 Comments


this seems like it might be right up my street, you have rly made this sound good ya

upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I suggested 'Moo, You Bloody Choir' over this.





.This Message Edited On 04.25.09

itchyandscratchy
April 25th 2009


314 Comments


album sux why did you rec this 2 me

upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I am not going to bother.

itchyandscratchy
April 25th 2009


314 Comments


bother wat

Turtlelephant
April 25th 2009


168 Comments


why the hell would you rec such a bad album upagainstthewall.

itchyandscratchy get Moo, You Bloody Choir instead.

upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

You are both fat.

Turtlelephant
April 25th 2009


168 Comments


there is no need for personal insults and btw rasputin already tried the fat joke on me so try harder.

Waior
April 25th 2009


11630 Comments


If anything, this made me consider Moo pretty well.



upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Well, rasputin is the king of insults... If your not a fan for personal insults I would leave this site right away, because they will come thick and fast.

Turtlelephant
April 25th 2009


168 Comments


lol you think this is my first account

upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Baha lol.

Turtlelephant
April 25th 2009


168 Comments


they called me snarky.

i have no fucking idea how long i'm banned.

upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

If anything, this made me consider Moo pretty well.




What to you mean by this?

Waior
April 25th 2009


11630 Comments


I mean, while evaluating this album, you compared it to Moo, which as it seems is a lot better.

Hence, when I check out Augie March, I know where to start. Not here.

upagainstthewall
April 25th 2009


839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Haha, I get you know.

Yeah don't even bother with this. Moo, is amazing.

AtavanHalen
April 26th 2009


17920 Comments


Moo is not amazing.
Strange Bird has better songs.
And I liked Pennywhistle a little bit kinda sorta I dunno.
And if you blame Neil Finn I'll fight you and win.



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