Quick Review (LP): Forever Today by I’m From Barcelona

I’m From Barcelona
Forever Today
Mute; 2011

My Rating: B- (62/100)

Best Tracks: "Charlie Parker", "Get In Line", "Always Spring", "Come On", "Game Is On"

Frustratingly above-average. Forever a B-list band?

NOTES

  • I’m From Barcelona make "indie choir" pop symphonies in the best tradition of Sufjan. Their songs are, on whole, a lot more like early Beach Boys than his.
  • I have fond memories of their first album. The track "We’re from Barcelona" was fantastic.
  • It ain’t really edgy, but these kids can make some catchy tunes.
  • This reminds me of Architecture in Helsinki’s latest, but the instrumentation here favors the organic rather than the synthesized.
  • "Charlie Parker" is cool. These cats know how to write an opener.
  • “We all want to get in line!” Clever.
  • This is a very likeable record, but it’s a bit neon, if you know what I mean. Hard to diss, but it ain’t easy to get excited about it either.
  • Also, they seem to be writing from a template. Driving beat, major chords, full on instrumental broadside, lead vocal followed by choral vocal, etc.
  • The last paragraph of this Pitchfork review is right on. Key excerpt: “What’s ultimately confounding about the album is how one-note its euphoria can be. The songs are almost interchangeable; the lyrics rarely stray beyond the easy cliché.”

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Consequence (3.5/5)
Songs (4/5)

Quick Review (LP): Moment Bends by Architecture In Helsinki

Architecture In Helsinki
Moment Bends
Modular; 2011

My Rating: C (46/100)

Best Tracks: "Desert Island", "W.O.W.", "That Beep"

Electro-pop as an affective disorder.

NOTES
– Their last album, Places Like This, was pretty good. There was a really nice punk-ish sound there.
– A little more pleasant here, not quite as abrasive.
– "W.O.W." is very nice. Very 80’s, reminiscent of a Cyndi Lauper ballad.
– Poppy, but seems a little vacuous. Where’s the beef?
– I’m sure I’m not the first to realize that these guys are basically a tropics-pop version of The Arcade Fire. Broken Social Scene with a lot more sunshine.
– FWIW, the breakdown in "That Beep" reminds me of the bass-voice Geddy Lee in "Roll The Bones."
– Despite the sheening pop sound, this one is a blah-fest. Check out the tracks I mention, ditch the rest.
Pitchfork was pretty generous to this one. I didn’t find it so deserving. Hope they recover some of the riotous energy and off-the-wall creativity of “Hold Music” and “Heart It Races” next time.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4/5)
Concept (3/5)
Consistency (3/5)
Consequence (3/5)
Songs (3.5/5)