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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
Seventeen Evergreen
Life Embarrasses Me On Planet Earth
Pacific Radio Fire

Rating: 8/10 ?


August 22, 2005
Life is embarrassing here on Earth - it is an undisputed fact. Whether eating macaroni and cheese from the pan and finishing an entire bottle of wine, alone, or searching the bedroom floor for clean underwear, the human species can be pretty pathetic. If it is any consolation, as you get older, you more easily accept your uselessness and find better, more mature ways to deal with it. Well, hopefully you do. Either way, life has its embarrassing moments, and you can cope with them by either freaking out or drifting away.

Seventeen Evergreen prefers the romance of "drifting away": they ignore all the shitty things that happen and move into an atmosphere more pleasurable, painful but enlightening, and cathartic. As referenced in the album's title, Seventeen Evergreen shows off their preoccupation with the celestial, as the heavens are a space they'd much rather inhabit than Earth. Though their entire cosmic metaphors have been hammered into the ground, they do manage to retain the imagery's effectiveness. The stars are understandable and relatable, and the thought of their light still rings, albeit quietly, poetic. Though Seventeen Evergreen use space to achieve emotional weightiness in their music, they truly move the audience with their slow-moving, effect-laden grooves, the sorts of which can be hypnotic and achieve the effects their lyrics can barely reach.

Overall, the band does a good job blending the atmospherics of post-rock with the quirky catchiness of slow-paced indie rock, but they do their best work when they focus purely on the former. When they do not lock in on these prime, rich characteristics, their songs are less effective and their influences are glaringly apparent.

As an example, "Sufferbus" is out of the album's grasp, mixing hooky guitars and new-wave inflected vocals, even though it is evidently and entirely less punchy and polished than the wealth of bands currently churning out a similar sound. However, this misstep is an exception: when playing more straightforward indie rock songs, Seventeen Evergreen take quite a few cues from Pavement with their Malkmus-esque vocal delivery and quirky guitar noodling, but add a subdued, signature backdrop. These songs are less staggering than their weightier counterparts. "Sazerac," for example, intertwines whispers with effects and minimal, steady-building piano notes; it eventually breaks into something more dynamic, but the initial movement is what counts. It is an intelligently pieced drone, memorable and charming.

At the album's end, Seventeen Evergreen is more confident, going full force and ending with its two strongest songs: where most albums lose steam after songs five or six, Life Embarrasses Me On Planet Earth saves their most effectual songwriting for last; it is an impressive debut. From the start, "Ensoniq" feels as if it will drown in electronics, but never flounders; almost overheard vocals, passing voices, humming effects and a slow, steady drumbeat combine to exude a pleasurable sort of catharsis. Where music used to serve as an emotional release of a more aggressive kind, it now can be appreciated for its opposite approach. Likewise, the album wraps nicely with the somber, slow funeral procession, "Adromedan Dream of an Octaroon": the song is strongest in tone, remaining solemn as an organ steadily crawls.

As "Adromedan Dream of an Octaroon" ends, and Life Embarrasses Me On Planet Earth finishes at such highpoint, my neighbor's stereo blasts "Private Dancer" and evades the silence; it jilts me from a daze, much needed. Back to the embarrassing once again…

Reviewed by Abbie Amadio
The last we heard Abbie Amadio, a former contributor to LAS, was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

See other reviews by Abbie Amadio

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