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  Shapes and Lines
Artist: blue2noise
Label: Independent 
Time: 16 tracks/77:44

The thing which bothered me most on first listen and has continued to bother me most about this band is that the first song is just a little out of tune.  Perhaps this was a deliberate effect, but it doesn't sound like it, and it is just one of those little things that sets my whole opinion against the rest of the album. After the accompanying press release had hyped the group up with name dropping and comparisons to Radiohead and Yo La Tengo, I was certainly expecting something a little more polished, a little more tightly put together than having the guitars in the opening track being just a shade out of tune with each other.  However, the album is not too bad for an independent release; the packaging is well done and the layout is attractive. Where it suffers is primarily from its self-production.  The album is much too long, and an outside producer would have perhaps given this group the extra set of ears needed to know which of the material was very good, which was good, and which was OK but didn't need to be included. As such, this album doesn't have enough staying power to warrant repeated listenings.

Stylewise, this album would be best described as generic guitar-based artsy/indie rock. There is nothing that really jumps out, instrumentation-wise, as being outside of this territory. The themes of the songs deal with relationships and such, as is typical for this genre. As far as that goes, I can see the style comparisons because blue2noise is on the quieter end of this genre--but drawing comparisons to Radiohead does tend to set the bar rather high.

Ultimately, for a comeback album by a band that has been around for a while, as they claim to be, it is missing that spark of life and tightness of playing that one would expect from the comparisons listed in its press release.  Maybe it's best to make sure the comparisons a band makes are accurate. At any rate, because of the length of the album and that annoying first track, it's a hard album to listen to all at once. That having been said, there is some good songwriting and some good musicianship; this is no doubt a good band. It's about one good producer away from being a very good band.

Alex Klages 10/20/2003


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