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neumu
Thursday, October 23, 2014 
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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
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+ Espers - II
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Cinerama
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Torino
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At a certain point, many veteran artists reach a point where their latest works threaten to become overshadowed by their legacy. This is generally less a problem in the indie realm than in the nostalgia-heavy arena-rock world, but it still happens. And now, more than 150 songs into his career, David Gedge — the driving force behind the Wedding Present and, more recently, Cinerama — seems to be struggling somewhat against the enormous burden of the past.

It's ironic, at least insofar as the Weddoes used to sell shirts that proclaimed "All the Songs Sound the Same," but Cinerama's musical diversity actually detracts from their latest album, Torino. Are they the chamber-pop act that the orchestral string-driven "Airborne" suggests? The glossy, seasoned pros that perform midtempo numbers like "Estrella" and "Close Up"? The Wedding Present tribute band found on the straightforward rockers "Two Girls" and new single "Careless"? Largely missing here is the jaw-dropping juxtaposition of noisy guitars against gorgeous keyboards and strings that tickled the ears so on the band's previous longplayer, Disco Volante.

On the lyrical side, Gedge continues to expand his palette while sticking to his primary subject: women and the events that transpire when they're mixed up with men. "She charms me, she harms me, she fights me, delights me/ She breaks me, she takes me, she eats me, she defeats me," he sings in "Two Girls," poignantly acknowledging both the sweet and the sour that love and lust can entail. As noted by the band in a press release, the songs on Torino find the narrator cheating on someone three times, getting cheated on thrice, breaking up with girlfriends a like number of times, and engaging in a pair of one-night stands. The narratives have come a long way from the days of cuckolded Weddoes tunes like "Unfaithful," and "My Favourite Dress"; indeed, words like "breasts," "screwing," and "underwear" casually roll off Gedge's tongue with scarcely a hint of self-consciousness.

And yet something does seem a little unnatural, a bit contrived about Gedge's lyrics, as if too often he is writing about films he has seen and novels he has read rather than from his own experiences. Perhaps this sense is triggered by his frequent lapses into the aforementioned terminology; romantic souls tend to express themselves through euphemisms and metaphors when talking about their own lives, and save the straightforward, naturalistic descriptions for external events. Thus the contrast between the line "You put your hand onto the very place my girlfriend's hand should be" on first single "Quick, Before It Melts" and the borderline-embarrassing language ("You tied my hands and whispered commands/ Then my whole body shook as you began to suck/ I cried your name and then I came") found on the bondage-tinged "Tie Me Up." "Tie" may in fact be the oddest track Gedge has ever produced, opening as it does with a minute-long, "cinematic" instrumental passage that wouldn't be out of place in a Western, bringing to mind images of cowboys on the lonesome, dusty trail.

I don't mean to suggest that this disc best serves as a beverage coaster; some of the songs are in fact quite good. "Two Girls" and "Careless" both elicit fond musical memories of Gedge's back catalog, while "Quick, Before It Melts" plays to Cinerama's strengths, blending sunny strings and gritty guitars. And, as I noted in a previous Cinerama review, album closer "Health and Efficiency" is quite simply a gorgeous, melancholy stunner. But the chaff-to-wheat ratio remains distressingly unbalanced on Torino.


by Steve Gozdecki




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