LO-TECH SOLUTIONS TO HI-TECH PROBLEMS
ALBUM CITYSCAPE RELEASE: MAY
31, 2004 REVIEW: MARCH 15, 2004
interesting proposition this one; taking the traditional acoustic sounds
and marrying them with all the possibilities that electronic music can
provide. So here is the evidence: an album of largely interesting, highly
melodic, and at times, quite quirky electropop by Cityscape's own Merchandise.
The band consist of just two members, but manages to create a quite convincing
full sound, that could deceptively make you think there are more than
just four hands at work. The sound is largely based around genuine song
structure, comprising of drum, vocals and slightly less favourably (in
places), acoustic guitar; then bulked up with vintage, warm analogue drones
and tweaks. There is a genuine warmth to be found in these tracks, almost
as if they had been baked in a musical oven, on a fairly low heat to let
the contents gently meld together. The album manages to stretch between
a number of tempos, without affecting the overall dynamic, and best of
all, sounds remarkably fresh and interesting.
Stand out songs in this set have to be "Distil Disappointment";
a simple song heavily based around an insistent jangly guitar riff and
drum beat, with stunningly bizarre lyrics, and one of the shortest ever
endings to a song I have heard for a long time - just one chord! Also
check out the opening instrumental "I Hate That You're Living"
and the brief but wonderful "The Last Stand of Pucho Vasquez".
The vocals and guitars can sound a bit raw at times - but somehow this
all adds to the fun. This is an album of ideas, and just like seeds planted
in the earth, not all of them are going to bare fruit. Some of the song
parts are not quite hitting the mark - but still as a whole, this album
is relatively successful.
A pleasant enough sound from a promising duo; it might not set the world
on fire, but if you like your pop with a sprinkle of electronics and a
slightly bigger dash of wackiness (try "Winter" on for size!),
you could do a lot worse!