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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
Freezepop
Fancy Ultra*Fresh
The Archenemy Record Company

Rating: 5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
In pure theory, Freezepop could be considered a Young Marble Giants for the digital age; but in practice, it is more like plugged-in twee. Listeners should know they are in for a potentially lethal dosage of frivolity when the record begins with the words "I know you work across the street/ In the indie record store."

As much as this seems to be designed to induce ire from anyone who doesn't have a stack of Sarah Records releases half their height, a few wise decisions from the band save it from being a total disaster. The beats, spawned from the reputedly low-tech Yamaha QY-70, are surprisingly well programmed.

Cutting sharply against the grain, the band has frontloaded the album with the worst songs - from the clichéd "Stakeout" to the poorly written (even by Freezepop's standards) "I Am Not Your Gameboy" - and exhausts the patience of any remaining cute-pop haters with "Parlez-Vous Freezepop?" and "Chess King."

Maybe the sixth track, "Outer Space," only sounds as lovely as it does because it pulls so sharply out of the suicidal nosedive of the first five songs. Like barely hearing Slowdive three doors down the street, its filtered dream sound is the easy highlight here.

The remainder of the album charts a rocky course through six more songs and one secret track. While not entirely successful, the songs of the Fancy Ultra*Fresh's latter half are more consistent than the first half of the album. The secret track, a rendition of the theme from Jem, (an '80s cartoon) is [wisely] the only track where singer Liz Enthusiasm tries to push her limited vocal range.

From the sonics to the song titles, the '80s fixation is clear. Their fashion choices suggest they are Boy George's kids and he has dressed them for their first day at the conservative East Coast academy, where he is making a "statement" by enrolling them.

Music snobs will sneer at this - the clothes, the very un-indie fashion and niche marketing, the lyrics (oh, Lord, the lyrics) and the band - but it's really not so different from contemporaries like Chromeo or the crop of like-minded groups who started making cheap synths and beats cool again for indie kids in the '00s. Remember the Busy Signals? Anyone? If 2004 wants to have its Gang of Four all over again, it may as well have its Thompson Twins, too.

So while this is a five on a 10-point scale, "Outer Space" is a solid eight and several of the other tracks on the second half, including "Duct Tape My Heart" and "Emotions & Photons," are decent sixes or even sevens. But be warned, the kitsch will clog your arteries.

Reviewed by Erick Bieritz
Erick Bieritz lives in Chicago, where is usually either very hot or very cold. He was the brainchild behind EPMD, where he wrote about EPs and singles for LAS, looking for overlooked or underappreciated non-album releases.

See other reviews by Erick Bieritz

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