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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Boom Bip
Blue Eyed in the Red Room
Lex Records

Rating: 6.5/10 ?


July 11, 2005
Bryan Hollan could not have chosen a more apt title for his project if he tried. If every band had named themselves after their given onomatopoeic orientation - for example, if My Bloody Valentine had instead been called "Scchhwwwwhhh" or Whitheouse had opted for a more fitting "Kkkrrrrzzzchchc!!!" - research time on behalf of the avid listener could be reduced considerably. Boom Bip does just that: "boom bip", and then "boom", and then "bip bip" a couple of times; therein lays beauty and simplicity in equal measures.

Hollan, whose roots are firmly embedded in his hip-hop upbringing, has attempted to bridge the gap between post-rock and contemporary electronica with Blue Eyed in the Red Room, his fourth full-length under the Boom Bip moniker. Although the backbone of the record is constructed synthetically, the overlaid layers of melody and textural centrality are recorded live, emphasizing Hollan's talents as both a producer and a multi-instrumentalist and presenting him with enough room to manoeuvre and comprehend the songs' live capabilities.

Hollan's aforementioned hip-hop roots are apparent during opening track, "Cimple"; it is formulated and works systematically, barely drifting from its set path. The track acts as a series of layers that almost seamlessly build, evolve and intensify. H is beats, which would by no means isolate themselves from the dance floor, are cute and bubbly, and keep Boom Bip bobbing at the surface of popular accessibility.

The exuberant "Girl Toy" is a motorized model of pop sensibility, slipping into the grooves laid before it, barely missing a beat or triggering a note that would raise the slightest of questions. Despite subtle hints towards electronic experimentalism, Hollan's niche resides in sweet hummability and invitation, evident in "Cimple," "Girl Toy," and "The Move."

The album's middle-section demonstrates Hollan's desire to wander: the scene set by "Eyelashings" and "Soft and Open" shows matters are no longer immediate and bouncy, but distant and reflective, whereas "One Eye Round the Warm Corner" presents us with album's token 'acoustic track.' Hollan's execution during these tracks is somewhat less impressive, and their lack of precision and immediacy prove to be Blue Eyed's stumbling block. Having said that, closing track, "The Matter (of Our Discussion)" - which features one Nina Nastasia in a more-than-prominent role - is a sheer delight. Its weightless use of guitar pads, strings and harps redeem Boom Bip, allowing for closure on a positive and uplifting high.

Although the mid-record change in direction provides breathing space, it begs the question whether the album was truly in need of any. The excitement brought by its opening tracks trails off prematurely, with any attention captured by the rousing beats of the opening tracks sufficiently relaxed. Whether or not this represents a potential progression from hip-hop and electronica to directionless meandering, the most promising face of Boom Bip has only briefly been brushed upon. Hollan's forte resides in urgency, energy and, needless to say, plenty of "booms" and plenty of "bips."

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright

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