Hey, there's a new album out! And guess what, the band has been described as "droney" and "shoegazey!" Can we get any lazier than this? How about you waste an entire paragraph talking about how the New Orleans-based groups first effort was associated with Hurricane Katrina, only they recorded it BEFORE the hurricane? And then you tell us why the association works! Thanks!
Let's see, the review looks innocous enough, until we pull these little guys out:
"Belong use feedback and drone to overwhelm the tunes.
-Voices inside a collapsed mineshaft, maybe, or echoes from a kid stuck in a well.
-Belong take the happy-sad melody and banish it to the horizon, where it can just barely be heard through the thick chords.
-...sings abstractly pained lyrics...barely audible over a swarm of fragile yet menacing guitars"
What do these lines have in common? They're the same goddamn thought repeated over and over again.
But, lo!!! I snuck in a line from an AMG review of "Isn't Anything" in there. Could you tell the difference? Neither could I.
"Someone overhearing it in my vicinity likened it to Robert Pollard trapped inside a seashell, which made some sense"
My Conversation with Person Who is Overhearing the Belong Record I'm Reviewing
Person: Wow, that's a crazy record you're listening to.
Person: Kind of sounds like Robert Pollard trapped inside a seashell.
Me: Ye...what, what did you say?
Person: It sounds like Robert Pollard, trapped in a seashell.
Me: What the hell's that supposed to mean?
Person: You know, if Pollard was in a sea...
Me: I know what it literally means, but how can you say that? Are you referring to how you can't hear the lyrics?
Person: Yeah, you know?
Me: No, I don't. Because if you put Robert Pollard in a seashell, and you pick up the seashell to listen to the ocean, you'd hear a really drunk, divorced old guy sing "I am a Scientist" to himself. You might not even be able to hear the ocean.
Person: Yeah, but...
Me: Yeah but nothing. That's a terrible comparison. Terrible.
Person: I was just saying...
Me: You were just saying nothing. That's what I'll imagine; this conversation never happening.
"...a message in a bottle rolling along on the heavy waves of the chords."
Where oh where have I heard an oceanic reference in regards to shoegaze before? From Allmusicguide overview of MBV: "they rode crashing waves of white noise to unpredictable conclusions." AMG review of Slowdive: "...swelling waves of flanged guitars, layers of wispy vocals floating in and out of the mix...", Rolling Stone's review of "Loveless": "Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields gently breathe pretty tunes into the thick, sweet waves of droning distortion."
I could go on forever, but it's tedious and annoying. It's the old adage, "How many ways can you say the same fucking thing about shoegaze/post-rock music since 1988?"
I'm sorry, but drone has been around FOR CENTURIES. There has to be a better way to describe an album. When you take away the references to feedback, drone, and hazy, barely audible vocals, you get:
-the album is not in anyway related to Hurricane Katrina
-all four songs are pysch-pop covers
-the last track demonstrates the band's approach to constructing music
Look, if this is all the band sounds like, I'd be willing to say...oh, wait, I'm sorry. They beat me to the punch.
"...it could have been made by a lot of bands."
Ah yes, so why would you recommend an album of psych-pop covers by yet another droney band, let alone give it an 8.4 out of 10? Maybe it was the sequencing of the songs? Nope, you didn't seem to mention that. Perhaps the production value...no, guess not. You talked about the songs, but moreso about how they were covered in "thick chords."
If the album is full of drones and feedback and sounds like a lot of bands, why not focus on what makes the album DIFFERENT. In my estimation, all I have to do is turn on my iPod and remember what I didn't like about Deerhunter.