Review Summary: 99 cent store post-rock, plus tax
I wish I were Christoffer Franzén. While I'm here hunched over a keyboard at goddamn 4 in the morning, writing about
the music, Franzén would be holed up in his study mixing, recording, or at one of his numerous instruments writing the actual
music. Since when is insomnia a gift?
But for Franzén it is. His insomnia gave us the seminal 2013 debut of Lights & Motion, Reanimation
, a record that's often cited weakness – a meshing pot of everything post-rock – is inherently its greatest strength if you take time to listen to the damn thing: why absorb so much of the instrumental shi
t from so many artists when you can get in all in one colossal sixty-minute album? The album is nothing short of riveting and a go-to for a get-into-the-genre gateway.
Still, artists need to feel they are unique in a sense, have their own voice, so Lights & Motion immediately got to work with more music that same year. Sadly, Save Your Heart
, wasn't that awesome. Franzén had tried to individualize himself in that record, but he had ended up with a flat, albeit shorter product. Heart
was more intent to lull than wow via a piano focus by Franzén rather than his more experienced guitar playing, his strength.
Funny thing is critics often referred to Heart
's companion piece, when really, other than being post-rock-y and instrumental, the two sounded and evoked moods very differently: We can run a marathon to the latter, but we'd much more likely sleep to the former.
Franzén took a little more time with this here Chronicle
, a release that owes much of its sound to Heart
's more reserved approach. Which given the history is bad, yes: cue generic post-rock review here. It's got climaxes; it's got softer lulls; it's got them feels
, but dammit what else is new?
You hear Explosions in the Sky in “Antlers”, the ever-present “Your Hand in Mine” reference repeated ad nauseam by so many. Elsewhere “Particle Storm” is clearly a Reanimation
b-side. It explodes at the end, as many pieces on Franzén's debut did, but the build-up has a ridiculous case of tunnel vision to a dead end. And on, and on, and on – we have all read this review before.
My criticism of Chronicle
is steep, true, but that's only because I know Franzén is capable of more, via evidence in Reanimation
. The man writes and records all of the music, plays every instrument, and does it all from lack of sleep. That's quite a feat for anyone, but still if the product itself doesn't sound strong or succeed in any sense of the word, only merely exists, then it is a wasted effort, no?
A pet peeve of mine is pretty music that sounds just that, pretty, but doesn't feel
pretty. That's this year's Chronicle
. Snore. Good sleep aids don't always make for good records.