Monday, December 08, 2008
OK Computer and Grace seem to still be dictating a LOT of what passes for indie-rock these days. It’s bands that move beyond these touchstones that seem to come up with more interesting and exciting music; at least Vampire Weekend were doing something a little bit different while a band like The Ruby Suns actually developed and redeveloped their own sound. Aaron Thomas on the other hand, seems to feel that Thom Yorke, Jeff Buckley and Wilco are just y’know…too challenging. His uninspired musings have nevertheless lead to him winning a pair of music award in Spain where he is now based and seems to have developed a following. Songs like the single Any More the opening Descending and Thinking Is Unproductive are meanderings about living far from home in a foreign country. Rather than looking outward and engaging with the culture around him (which he may well have done but doesn’t spend too much time on) he looks inward and to his Ipod.
The album is entirely written from the first person, almost every line begins with ‘I…’ and words like nervous, tired, phrases like moving on recur and again and again Thomas looks his feelings and longings and it’s all…very…boring. Like a film being made in Venice that focuses entirely on the face of the actor there, Thomas asks us to empathise with his struggles shouldering the sun, and ending up like a fucking tourist (Any More), being full of anger and wondering maybe I need a holiday (Kill This City). Perhaps this will echo with kids travelling Europe on their gap year, but without investing any of the culture he is witnessing; not so much as a hint of flamenco, trumpet, electronica, foreign language or references to places that may ground the album or his thoughts. Instead we get only his Yorkeian whining and introspective musing about various ‘you’’s, downbeat instrumentation and arrangements and safe niceness where he refers to feeling angry but doesn’t flesh it out.
While he seems perfectly nice and a competent songwriter with probable better things to come, there is nothing at all new, interesting or exceptional – a risk free, thrill free holiday. Having said that fans of The Panics may find something here to love.