‘Shoegazer’ trips, falls flat on its face

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 kslcmusic@gmail.com.

2 Comments on ‘Shoegazer’ trips, falls flat on its face

  1. Christine Timate // April 2, 2011 at 3:58 am //

    This reviewer has no respect for the genera of music Alfred John plays in.
    I would think that any heavy metal or hip-hop nut would absolutely hate his music. But his music is reflection of many bands that I grew up with and he captures the feel very well. I believe it’s rude and completely unprofessional to regard his music with toilet humor. That just shows the maturity of the Jerk that wrote the column. Shoegazer is a great album for anyone who has some class. And I would say that it was a bit late to review an album that’s been out for 5 months. There is just something not right with this article it sounds more like an attack than a professional review. (?) I wonder?

  2. I kind of agree with the first response. This album was released back in December
    and you’re now just reviewing it. If that was what you called a review. Not a good read at all. And this is the oddest thing Alfred John Shoegazer has been on your playlist with light rotation since February according to RMG promotions, the ones who sent you the album to begin with. And now after being on your playlist for the last couple of months you decide to write this trash about him. Something is not right about this. It at all sounds fishy to me. Nice try Tompkins but I don’t think so.

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