And that all ended quickly. A tragic case of album shittiness, because these were pretty likable guys, especially the girl. After the opener (a charmed-o electronic ambient moody intro) the problems are many. Let’s run’ em down for you!!:
1. The second song makes it seem like I’m to expect some sort of epic, career-defining album, but there’s little to back up this presentiment. If you’re going to act like you’re speaking for a generation you’d better have something crazy good to back it immediately. And that song itself isn’t memorable other than rhyming “fear” with ‘here” three freaking times as if we wouldn’t notice that they couldn’t think of any other rhymes.
2. Too many songs start in my notes with “meh.” It’s not that the songs themselves are genre exercises, but instead that their genre is the only memorable part of them. There’s “jazz-pop love song,” and “the one where they sound like Michael Jackson,” and “the one with the briefly fast drums,” and “boring piano ballad.” The lack of vocal hooks is probskis the main culprit here.
3. The love songs are all useless! What’s notable about “My Favourite Book” other than the mediocre titular idea? It’s just a soft love song! “Barricade” is a cheap take on Bowie’s “Heroes” with all the interesting stripped away (also the part where its historically relevant). Overly dramatic + piano ballad = pernicious narm.
4. “Personal” is a slow ‘very sad song’ song about a couple trying to meet over (surprise) personal ads that’s all sorts of silly. Who would answer an ad with “sorry to be heavy / But heavy is the cost” apropos no other such vagaries? And are newspaper personal ads really a good medium for conveying the dark heart of modern relationships anymore? Hint: no. Another disconnect between anticipated impact and real resonance.
5. A few songs have unfinished-sounding sections where the band just kinda jams it out. What’s up with the endings to “Window Bird” and “Bitches in Tokyo” otherwise?
6. The end of the album is a trio of increasingly long overproduced melodramatic pop songs that try to summarize huge elements of life (one’s called “Life 2: The Unhappy Ending,” another “Today Will Be Better, I Swear!”) and can’t even make it to interesting song status, so it’s just a big load of underwhelm.
Don’t lick my crank too sensuously. There’s good here. “Take Me to the Riot” is a real winner of an indie rock single, quiet to loud minor to major done well, and the part where the drummer plays an extra beat in every other sequence may be the most interesting thing on the whole album. “Window Bird” is nifty and “Bitches in Tokyo” is solid non-lame girly rock. Plus, “Personal” is good for mentally inserting vulgar lyrics. Try it with Peaches “AA XXX,” for instance! But overall this is a big time letdown, like Stars are old and out of touch just when they got in touch in the first place.