Their first album was very, very frontloaded. Everything I enjoyed was in the first five tracks, but I think they show some genuine promise and with some refinement could be put out something noteworthy. Their second album Congratulations will be released in April, and its rumored to be a pretty big jump. Ideas of a twelve minute song have been thrown around. The album cover is pretty fucking weird.

My hope is that they aren’t trying to hard to go outside whats expected of them. Thats not to say bands venturing out of their comfort zones is a bad thing. It can be great. It can be awful, or it can just be kind of mediocre. You have Kid A, Third, even Sgt. Peppers could be thrown in as a good example. On the other end of the spectrum you’ve got Neil Young’s Trans and Liar’s They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, though they did refine that first botched album into Drums Not Dead later on. I think Congratulations will fall somewhere in the middle; they need to retain their signature sound but keep expanding to maintain some semblance of critical acclaim. They’ll do what Vampire Weekend did with Contra and the Fuck Buttons with Tarot Sport.

It can be done well as long as the band shows some artistic growth and maturity. I hope they manage to find that balance, but a twelve minute song makes me wonder if were just gonna get something like Muse’s Exogenesis, a massive clusterfuck of a song that people will claim to enjoy simply because its length lends it some imagined musical ingenuity.

~ by Andrew Baer on February 17, 2010.

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