Apparently they used to be a hardcore
band, until they discovered synths. The Chicago-based four-piece has woven
in some '80s-style keyboards that rarely compliment the mix, merely adding
useless garnish to an already rather flavorless meal. The result is sort
of a New Wave minor-key art rock (and if that's not redundant, I donít
know what is) that's old Psych Furs meets The Cure, but without those
bands' tunefulness and subtlety.
Roby Newton's vocals are a girlish cross between Thalia Zedek and
Chrissie Hynde, and come off rather theatrical on operatic, anthem rock
arrangements such as the gothy "Food for Worms," and the
7-plus-minute Cure-esque droner "Lost the Thoughts But Kept the
"A Quick Trip to the Clinic," is blah Devo jump-dance lain
flat by Dave Laney's rather whispy vocals. It's all very '80s with the simple
synths to match.
Optimum effectiveness is achieved on "Ant Architect," a dark,
6/8 electronic waltz that dives in and out of the fray with mathy precision
and the creepy line, "We can suture the future shut like a cut /
We can replicate structures that replicate us." Again, it all
reminds me of those droning, non-dance numbers on old Cure albums, the
ones you skipped past to get to "Hot, Hot, Hot." Still, it alone
almost makes this CD worth the purchase. Almost.
At just over seven minutes, "The Installment Plan" feels like it goes on
for seven hours. Ah, but it is the CD closer, after all. Yet another
minor-key droner with Newton's dead-on Zedek vocals. You're better off
picking up a copy of Been Here and Gone.