The Light at the End of the Tunnel Is a Train
Sounds like: Interpol skipping, skipping, skipping
Short take: Electro-rock can be overdone ...
Though they've been bosom buddies for about three decades now, electronica and rock aren't necessarily made for each other. Just how compatible synths are alongside guitars (or vice versa) has always been suspect despite some bands having merged them so well (Primal Scream, The Faint, et al). What goes wrong when combining these two sonic elements is a matter of style: Whereas electro has previously been rock's snarky embellishment, Whitey flips the formula, making rock music conform to dance gestalts, building crescendo loops with fedback riffs, and then driving them forth to hypnosis. The problem with this technique is that the songs eventually just drone and drag, making a rut out of a good pattern. Matt Martin
The DFA Remixes: Chapter Two
DFA / Astralwerks
Sounds like: Baroque musical remodeling
Short take: Acid-dipped floor-filler enormities
When you consider the concept taking "yeh, OK" original songs and mixing them into enormous synth odysseys by dance rock's most pretentious grouches it sounds like a formula for hilarious disaster. In practice, the exact opposite is somehow true with this DFA release: These remixes are really, really good exponentially better than the DFA's tiresome, autonomous work and the original songs themselves. Their second chapter salvages throughout: Pharrell finally sounds valid when funked up by the DFA; Eurotrash mix junkie Tiga's abysmal "Far from Home" becomes a buzzing, humming klaxon; and Nine Inch Nails' grim "Hand That Feeds" turns into shuffling, keyboard-happy fun. Even Junior Senior's horrible "Shake Your Coconuts" is listenable when swathed in DFA's omnipercussive bassline melodies. Matt Martin
Sounds like: Michael Stipe invading your dreams
Short take: Speed up the metronome!
It's been three years since Atlanta-based indie rockers The Close released an album; Sun, Burn follows 2003's It's a Secret to Everybody and three subsequent years of touring. The result: Well, it's tough to say though it's pretty clear that these guys are tired. For the most part, the middle of the nine-track effort from these "rockers" reeks of repeated drug- induced comas. Melodically, the sound is there, but the pacing isn't and it ultimately drags down the entire disc's sound. Still, about a third of the disc is interesting enough to warrant keeping an ear to these guys. The first two tracks ("They Get Around" and "Sun, Shine") and last one ("Ria's Bluebird") have catchy enough supplements to match the intriguing opening guitar riffs. Pete Freedman