Things I Said To Impress Girls: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 81
A Saucerful Of Lies - A Saucerful Of Lies - self-released - 6 songs - CD, digital
Earlier in the year, you may recall the group Exploding Lies (assisted by New Planet Trampoline) released a CD entitled "Obscured By Cloud Nothings." This, now, serves as the rebuttal. The musicians are listed only by their initials, but I'm reasonably certain there are some Cloud Nothings and some New Planet Trampoliners on here. The music on here is all instrumental except for when it features samples of various things. Online, there are titles listed for each of the six tracks; disappointingly, these were not listed on the CD version, which is especially unfortunate as they came up with some good ones. The style here is experimental, some more electronic, some more psychedelic, some more ambient. A couple of them, I think, would serve very as well as the soundtrack to some kind of arty movie. You've kinda got to be in the right mood to get into this, but if you are, it's not bad. I particularly enjoyed "Part III" ("Embryo'Malley"), especially when it moves from a vaguely Floyd-esque thing to a Pere Ubu "Final Solution" krautrock kind of thing. I must admit, my knowledge of Pink Floyd is mostly limited to the Syd Barrett years (and the big radio hits that everyone knows), so I can't say how well this functions as a tribute to them. It's certainly more trippy than the Exploding Lies. For "Part V" ("The Final Kurt"), I think they got the saxophone guy from Magic City to solo for a bit, occasionally joined by guitar. That's pretty cool, and then it moves into an atmospheric moody thing. Hey, when I was able to get into this, I enjoyed it, and I don't usually tend to listen to this kind of thing, so that's gotta mean something. 3/5
(asaucerfuloflies.bandcamp.com or firstname.lastname@example.org…or try a local record store?)
Cloud Nothings - Last Building Burning - Carpark Records - 8 songs - LP, CD, cassette, digital
I'm not quite sure where to start with this. I thought "Life Without Sound" was a high point for Cloud Nothings, so it's possible that anything following it would disappoint me a bit. Many people I've talked to think this is a great return to form for the band while at the same time moving them into new directions. I think that's a fair enough assessment for the most part. "Last Building Burning" combines a lot of elements from the previous three albums (not counting "No Life For Me") into a new kind of thing. However, to me, it kind of comes across like they aren't quite sure what they're doing. That's a pretty harsh thing to say, I suppose, but they've sort of just thrown stuff together into something that is less than the sum of its parts. That's not to say that this is a bad album. While it's on, I enjoy listening to it. There's a bit more of a post-punk feel than I've noticed before, particularly on "Offer An End" and "Dissolution," which both have certain parts that remind me of The Cure. "On An Edge" works very well as a bombastic opener and "Leave Him Now" proves as well as anything else that Dylan Baldi can write a catchy song. As an album, defined within this sentence as a series of songs put together in a certain order, it's quite good. It flows very well and makes a lot of sense as a sequence of songs, perhaps more so than "Life Without Sound" did. That said, I don't know if all the songs stand on their own. And a couple of them are just not memorable; I've forgotten them immediately after listening to them. "Dissolution" is almost a good song, or is a decent song up to a point, and then becomes a long noise/feedback thing, but not one that sounds natural, like on "Wasted Days," but almost like they went "oh, we forgot the 10-minute song on the last album, let's stick a long noise thing in the middle of this one." Like I said, this album most certainly has its moments, I just don't find it to be their most thrilling or engaging material. Again, I'm not saying it's a bad album. If you're a Cloud Nothings fan, you'll find something to like about this, and I am a Cloud Nothings fan. I will also say that it has grown on me a bit with repeated listening (the time I liked it most, I was in a particularly foul mood– maybe that's the secret?), so perhaps in a year's time I'll be raving about how great it is. Who knows? 3/5
Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email email@example.com or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.