Album – Songs of Hope and Despair – Antiqcool

Posted by admin on June 29th, 2008

This is an album that’s certainly in no hurry, with 13 tracks, each being on average around 5 minutes, for a total of an hours worth of music. The music here is very much in the vein of Steely Dan, especially the vocals, which are very distinctive.

The album opens very strongly with “Englishman Out in the Midday Sun”, which is one of my favorite tracks on the album. However it’s the second track, “Vows Were Made of Glass”, which really stands out from the rest of the tracks, both in musical content and size, weighing in at just a tad under 7 minutes. There’s a lovely feel about this track, that’s hard to quantify, but it really has that AM 70’s sound, that seems to be featuring strongly over the last year or so. “Pearl” is also noticeable, as the high pitched voice is replaced at the start of the track, with a vocal style that is much easier on the ear. This alternate vocal style is also evident in “How Much More of This”, “Just a Little too Late” and “My Avatar”, where the higher pitched vocals are used to good effect harmonising.

Admittedly as an album, this feels a little strained, however for me there is enough here to enjoy, but also to get me interested enough in watching to see how this band progresses.

Conclusion : Musically excellent. However while the vocals are certainly distinctive, they are also my only cause for concern, on what is otherwise a really pleasant and relaxed album. The vocals are comprised of some great harmonies, but the lead vocal is often very high, almost unnaturally so. At first this come across as fairly unique, but after a while it tended to grate, as there is just not enough diversity to stimulate the ear.

For me there’s enough here to enjoy and I’ve found myself on a couple of occasions just letting the vocals wash over me, before realising, so this could very well be an album, that digs it’s hooks in over a period of time.

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