Opener [EP] (2004)
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The opener of their opener is called ďOpener.Ē How do you like that? Had Alanis Morissette known about that, she would have called it ďironic!Ē ...Well, sheís an idiot. I call it a very nice song! Sure, itís rather dreary, but isnít that what all these new-fangled songs are supposed to be? It starts out with a very monotonous guitar strumming, and then Juliette Beavenís sweet coo comes in and sings a cute melody that suits her voice. Unfortunately, they donít change the chord progression or vocal hook at all throughout the duration, but the song gets harder and louder as it progresses, so it always seems fresh. A squeaky guitar solo at the end sounds like itís malfunctioning! SO IS MY BRAIN!!! Haaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee... Good song!
Save Yourself A-
They donít do anything to fix the dreariness... If anything, this mid-tempo number is drearier than the previous song. The watery guitars, the string-laden synthesizers, the vocals have a slurry, lucid feel. What gets me about this song is the actual melody. Yeah, this thing is wonderful! The hooks are perhaps a bit obvious and simple, but it captures my attention. That chorus is strictly uncouth with a funny chord progression and those ďlah-lah-lahsĒ that sound out of a demented Beatles album.
Never Enough B+
This is where the albumís dreariness starts to grow tiresome. You get the idea that this dreamy sort of lull is the only mood that this band seems to know. Though Iíll grant you that this is an entertaining enough of a song... It has a captivating melody with Julietteís vocals sounding especially sweet here, at the beginning, and then growing slightly less sweet by the end. They do genuinely have a nice idea how to orchestrate it. Thereís a huge push to the middle with the instrumentals growing more involved.
Nothing Left to Lose D+
I really donít like this. Apart from the fact that itís still dreary as hell, I can give it some credit for being different than the previous three songs. Itís a RAP! Juliette is still heard singing a sweet thing, but somebody or other is brought into do an irritating rap. The harmonies are incredibly repetitive and taxing on the nerves. Furthermore, that minimal percussive stomping bit in the middle just didnít work. YUCK.
If it was even possible, this was a worse idea than the last song albeit itís not nearly as taxing on the nerves. It is supremely boring, though. Instead of singing, Juliette talks as though sheís reciting some sort of beatnik poetry. Sometimes this sort of thing works... listen to Laurie Andersonís early albums for a good example of this ... but this is just tedious. They continue working on those dreary atmospheres. SERIOUSLY!!! GRRRRRRRRR!!!
Give it Up C
Well, itís better than the last two songs, but this hardly ends the EP with a bang. Itís by far the longest composition at six-and-a-half minutes here (not a good sign), itís dreary as all heck, and they repeat the same three freaking chords throughout. I ask you, what do these dream-pop guys have against harmonies? Itís really a basic request... I suppose weíre supposed to listen to this music when weíre tripping on cough medicine or something... yeah... The sound-effects are nice, but theyíre not wholly impressive. Juliette Beavenís voice is nice and sweet. Itís as though she was singing to the stars! Itís just a shame that she wasnít given much of a song to sing...
Songs to Love and Die By (2006)
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No Way Back 9/10
With quiet and lovely production, this is probably one of the nicer dream-pop songs I can think of. At least it doesn't think it has to drown itself in incessant layers of noise! The market is flooded with material of this style, though, and it's not that distinctive. But the melody manages to have a good hook or two. The vocal performance is similarly subtle. A strong album opener ... but what's next?
I definitely appreciate the attempt to rock out here. Alas, the mentality remains the same! Oh, dream pop!!!!!!!! WHY MUST YOU BE LIKE DREAMMMMMMMM POP??????????? WHY!!!! OK, there's some well-placed guitar crunches here and there. I can't help but feeling bored through this. It's not even four minutes and I feel like it was too long.
You Know 8.5/10
They're going more of a grunge route here, and that only helps the effort. The melody is a tad boring, but ............... that's essentially this band's weakness. That and a lack of melody skills! Anyway, this is more of an upbeat song, so it's easier for me to take it in. I thought the song ended nicely ... she just sings the same note, but the rhythm was nice.
You know, this song threatens to be lively. They don't quite make it ... but ............... oh man, this is DREAMMMMMMMMMMM POP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do like the song production very much, though. There was some nice touches. I do wish they would concentrate more on the songwriting. Surely, the song is tasteful, but that's not how you change the world.
Never Enough 7.5/10
It's a shame, because they're trying so hard! You don't always make a good song by singing the same silly notes over and over and over and over.... The instrumentation and (subtle) mood changes throughout help liven the effort up. This is highly professional, but you don't win wars by being "highly professional."
You're a liar and you're boring! The instrumentation is basically just Beaven with an acoustic guitar and a drunken piano twinking around toward the end. The melody is pretty decent here, but ......... gosh this is a boring song. I'm really trying too.
Much better this time. They not only have a workable melody but they develop it into a song that catches my interest immediately from the beginning. It has enough intertia to hold my interest. There's plenty of room for improvement, but count your blessings!
This song is so tasteful that I'm really probing myself for great things to say about it. The melody isn't hooky but it has good flow. The instrumentation is very usual for this album ... but I just find it to be boring. Tastefully boring. This is an 8.5 for the technical stuff, but it had potential to be higher. Maybe I'll catch you in a coffee shop sometime. I can act all cool!
Give it Up 6/10
This is kind of the magnum opus of boring songs. Six minutes long with the usual endless watery guitars and melody that doesn't try very hard to be interesting. This is just a more boring and longer drawn out version of everything else in this album, it seems.
Forever and Ever Amen 9/10
.....................That's how long it seems this album is, although it was only 40 mintues, which is mercifully short. This is more of a piano ballad, and the guy helps sing this one. All of that helps add to the diversity. The song is only three mintues long and it actually has a noticable build-up. OK, next album, concentrate on developing your songs. This was a good start.
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