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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
Exodus of the Eldest

Rating: 5.8/10 ?

February 16, 2009
Though it has been some years since the peak of the piano-rock revival, a smattering of musicians continue to prolong its run. Yet, with its archetypal plunkiness and goofy meanderings, it seems that pop music, specifically the kind that lies on the periphery of mainstream, has, since the late 1990s, deviated from this course. As illustrated by today's diversified musical landscape, the resurgence and refashioning of a genre (see: indie-rock's emulation of motown soul, the continual redefining of art punk, etc.) is certainly a viable trend. That said, does piano-rock have another wind? Or is Aldenbarton ten years too late?

A New York City based trio, Aldenbarton position themselves as '90's indie-rock influenced power-pop. However, on their debut release Exodus of the Eldest, the sound and feel is more Ben Folds Five than say, Pavement or Sebadoh. And what's wrong with cleanly executed hooks and a little piano tinkering? Even straying from the traditional verse-chorus-verse formula feels refreshing for an album so rooted in pop nuance.

Sounding very Ben Foldsesque, "I am New Yorker," the album's awkwardly titled first track, introduces the sequence of piano-bass-drum heavy tracks that follow. Where Aldenbarton loses its footing: their want for unpredictability. Of course, the versatility of an album demonstrates range and breadth of talent; too much, though, and it seems the timbre of the album suffers from bouts of schizophrenia. On Exodus of the Eldest, tempos and moods change suddenly mid-song, for a disjointed sound. "Brilliant Light" melds 60's psychedlic, indie rock, swoony pop, Balkan gypsy into a gaudy tapestry. Judging by their erratic approach, it appears Aldenbarton had more material than album space and accordingly, wove together too many textures.

On "A Quiet Symphony," frontman Andrew St. Aubin delivers wince-worthy lyrics: "Changing my belief/ Angels do exist/ And love is not a myth" followed by a chorus of "Ba da da da da's." The album has some good moments with its harmonious backing vocals, driving rhythms, and overall spacey eeriness. "HUSH," the weighty closer, has power behind it yet, lacks the cathartic climax usually expected after a slow build. Despite its sincerity, Aldenbarton's clunky debut falls a bit flat.

Reviewed by Lara Longo
Lara Longo is a writer and photographer from Brooklyn, NY. In 1989, Lara received her first CD player and album, Appetite for Destruction; ever since, music is something she has fawned over, hated on, and played loudly. Her work has also appeared in Relix and New York Cool. Lara’s interests include sharks, European television, and the Hammond B3 organ.

See other reviews by Lara Longo



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