Wednesday, August 01, 2007

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

The Bad III: Do Make Say Think, "You're a History In Rust". DMST picked a great point in their career to careen into a sideways shift in their sound. Another album like the last two could have sent them down a path of jam band predictability, but "You're A History In Rust" sees them exploring not one, but two new avenues. The far more interesting one is the high-density, speed-fueled barrage featured in "Executioner Blues", and most spectacularly, "The Universe!". With eighty or so musicians, it's about time they cranked the volume a bit higher, and the furious anger of "The Universe" could almost be mistaken for speed metal at times.

The other half is what drags down the album as a whole, namely the folksy parts with vocals. I'm struggling to understand their internal logic when it comes to approaching vocals, and I'm really not getting it. The down-home feel of the title track almost demands vocals but doesn't deliver, whereas "A With Living" (for example) sounds more or less what they usually do on their other albums and yet the vocals simply show up without warning. It's as if they pre-decided that there would be vocals in certain places and were determined to shoehorn them into their songs no matter what.

In addition -- and this isn't the sort of thing that normally gets on my nerves -- the record would benefit tremendously from better sequencing. They missed an opportunity to start slow and mellow and build up to something loud and explosive at the end, but instead all of the sonic palette I discussed here is schizophrenically strewn all over the album.

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