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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Art of Clear Thinking
Makoto Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
The first song on the Art Of Clear Thinking EP by Propeller begins with a great riff. A riff that draws you in and gets you excited about rock and roll. One of those bluesy-end-of-the-fret-board riffs. I guess I never really get sick of those (Now, I am not talking about a Collective Soul riff for those of you who might suddenly be thinking that). I find myself wondering where this is going to go. It seems to lead into the right direction at first. Other guitars seem to jangle in on the riff in a truly . Unfortunately the song sort of breaks down in the middle. It sort of slows down and trails really far off the track that it began. It is the kind of wondering that forces you to question whether you are still listening to the same song. In fact by the end of the song it seems to be about three songs in one, none really connected by anything but the number on my CD player. This works sometimes (see "Djed" by Tortoise or "A Quick One While He's Away" by the Who), but it seems like this is all meant to be one song with different parts. Far be it from me to judge an artists vision. Perhaps this should have been reviewed by the in-house wacky rock expert Dheeru. To make it really hard for me to assume that this is a little rock opera, they tack the beginning riff back on at the end of the song. I don't think it works.

The other songs on the Art of Clear Thinking fit together a little better, but they still feel like they would work better in different directions. What works is when the individual guitar parts sound jolted and juxtaposed. What doesn't work is when entire parts are put into songs that don't need them. The second song, "adjusting pizarro" fairs a lot better in its structure than the first song. I mean the parts seem to have been written with one song in mind. It seems to fit into a quiet loud quiet loud school of songwriting. There are some very interesting guitar parts going on in this song, especially towards the end. Really cool squeaky dischordance that works. "Catch" finishes the disc off with a song that is interesting and sometimes bothersome. Mostly it is strong, but one part of the song is really dischordant, not in the good way either. This part seems to be the centerpiece of the song, the part they keep coming back to. Still, I would have preferred the song if it had been left out.

There is a lot of interesting stuff to hear on this EP. Lots of appealing guitar parts that definitely make you want to listen again. I do think that music requires a little more coherence than this band gives the listener. Perhaps I am being too picky, but I feel like some of these songs could really be outstanding with just a couple of pushes. Otherwise the songs are almost collections of noises. I suppose the fact that they are really cool noises makes it easier for me to accept.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher



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