Thursday, July 12, 2007

Newish albums: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Bad I: Ulrich Schnauss, "Goodbye". I used to hyperventilate while reading pre-release hype for the latest guitar-IDM-electronic twee-MBV knockoffs. No really, they said, this is the 21st century successor to "Loveless", this is what it would have sounded like if they'd used keyboards instead of guitars, etc. You get the drill. These days, I don't even flinch. M83's "Run Into Flowers" was probably the closest anyone got to making good on those descriptions, and even they left that sound well behind after their second album.

Schnauss' "A Strangely Isolated Place" was an exercise in electronic lush, which is why I was a bit shocked to catch him live a couple of years ago and discover his keyboard-prog tendencies. Great, here comes ear-splitting keyboard solo chorus #25, sounds a lot like #14 and #23, so let's get on with it. With "Goodbye", all the MBV-ish hype turned out to be something far less grandiose -- he simply went goth. There's absolutely nothing wrong with going goth, but if you've heard nearly any release from Projekt Records in the past 15 years, then you've heard "Goodbye".

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