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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
The Potomac Accord
Silver Line On a Black Sea
Self-released

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The Potomac Accord is a band bordering on pretension. Their liner notes are some uppity babble about St. Louis collapsing under the weight of its cold and concrete. I would have a large problem with this if they weren't so good. Let's face it, if you are good enough a little pretension might even be a good thing. Radiohead, The Beatles, Pavement in their heyday, John Tesh. Still, a piano band from St. Louis that is pretentious would seem to be a very hard sell. So let me explain further as it is probably my job to do. The album works because the Potomac Accord can write songs and they can build tension in their music. A good musician knows when to write a long song and when to keep things short. For this style of music (piano based with lots of chords and building melodies), it is better to let songs grow and the Potomac Accord does this well. The piano concretes the music and the songs crescendo. For a first album, which I assume this is although I don't have as much background information as I would like, this is unbelievable.

This album is dark, chaotic and even poppy in moments. It is amazingly fresh to hear an album like this. An alternative to guitar and electric rock. Not that the guitars are gone; they are here and the help out quite a bit thank you very much. The melodic end in "maya" is brilliant music, and the last song, "of plagiarism and flattery" is the perfect closer. However, this album peaks in the song "all eyes on me". In the last three minutes of the song there is a dynamic buildup that very few bands could pull off.

The third song "to portland, maine" is a little Slintish. Okay it is a lot Slintish. The song is about a sinking ship for God's Sake. (Good Morning Captain for all of you who don't know, check it out) The guitars, buildup, and even vocal delivery will sound familiar to anyone who has heard Slint or their millions of sound-a-likes. This is the only song without a piano, which makes me think a little. Should I give a tag line to this review: The Potomac Accord, think Slint with a piano. This is probably accurate for a general idea of this band's sound, but it also simplifies things a great deal. This band is much more original and inventive than that.

A small complaint I have is the vocals, which are not that original or particularly good. Also, a couple of songs have screaming that seems incredibly out of place. Finally, there are a couple of pre- recorded talking-over-music parts in songs, which I don't particularly care for. These are small complaints however and do not stand out when you hear the album. Please don't let them get in your way, I just mention them because I have to.

A band with a piano that does not have sound like Billy Joel or Elton John (e.g. Ben Folds Five), what a novel idea! A band with a piano that uses it for more than that token piano song per album. You know the song where the songwriter for the band thinks it is cool that he took piano lessons as a kid, so he comes up with a decent melody on the piano and sticks the song towards the end of the album. Well this band knocks all of that to shame. This is band that you might not have heard of yet, but you probably soon will. With music like this they are certainly going somewhere. I suggest you find out where that is.

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

See other reviews by John Steinbacher

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