Dismal. That’s really the only word to describe this year’s music offerings.
Disappointing works, too, I suppose. The year 2011 has heralded a new decade of music, and things are looking grim. Simple, mind-blowingly self-involved and wasteful, this sort of music, which is slowly becoming mainstream, has been paraded about for years. Only now it seems the scarcity of real talent has increased and even independent artists are jumping on the bandwagon.
This week’s album for review, “Shoegazer” by Alfred John, is a perfect example of the resounding lack of vision and tepid success of this year’s music.
Leader of the one-man band, John seems to be nursing a bit of an ’80s fetish, something made glaringly evident in his music, which echoes that same signature synth and keyboard that was integral to the glitzy and melodramatic sound of the period.
The ’80s, with its big hair and overwhelming lack of truly decent music, make the decade’s eventual revival dreaded. It is best to nip this in the bud and make it emphatically clear that any music which attempts to capture the ‘80s era is simply 20-some years too late.
Opening the album is “Hold Your Light On Me,” a song which somehow manages to capture the desperate trappings of this album in one horrific piece. The song teases with a promising beginning and sounds like agreeable background music for all of 22 seconds, at which point the horribly out-of-tune vocals ruin the entire experience and betray the listener. This out-of-tune theme carries throughout the entire album.
Although there are rare instances when vocals are spot-on in pitch, they are all over the place; only vaguely following the
tempo of a song. It’s unfortunately crippling for “Shoegazer,” for even though the melody bounds forward eager and spry, the
disjointed harmony of those ridiculous vocal effects saddles them with a depressive weight.
Everything about this album harkens back to a time best forgotten with even the title of the album: “Shoegazer.” It seems to attempt to set itself apart by being named after a subgenre of a subgenre which never really caught on.
While this music may prove popular with trendy, vegan hipsters, let’s be realistic. Anyone forced to take three bowel movements a day because of diet has to have developed a marked ability to deny that shit stinks.
Finally, clocking in at well over an hour, it takes dedication to listen to every track of “Shoegazer,” especially if you notice the off-key vocals.
With its laconic lyrics, ’80s obsession and a vocal disharmony that makes ears bleed, “Shoegazer” is an album
better suited for the trash can than the review rack.
Eric Tompkins/KSLC 90.3
Eric Tompkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.