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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 Most Serene Republic
Population
Arts & Crafts

Rating: 4.5/10 ?


September 27, 2007
The Most Serene Republic's Population fails to offer the same sense of instant gratification as the raw pop artifacts comprising the band's 2005 album Underwater Cinematographer did. Instead it acts like the blank leaf of paper at the beginning or end of a book, never quite providing an eager judgment of direction and leaving interpretation wide open to the listener in the moment at hand. Population sashays unencumbered through the midst of the development of something substantial, building all the while toward no ultimate resolution.

It's apparent when delving into the record that Population, rather than being one based on track strength alone, is an album intended to be long-playing in the truest sense of the term - but therein lies the problem. The album isn't anchored by bombastic individual cuts, but is also far from cohesive. Although the songs detail an increase in musicianship and a more polished recording aesthetic that the Most Serene Republic's early going, the unrefined pop treatment of their previous albums is completely non-existent.

Unfortunately, those clever, chanting one-line hooks indebted to dramatic conclusions - lines like "She took a sad song and made it sadder" (from "Where Cedar Nouns and Adverbs Walk") and "I think we all know the words" ("Proposition 61") off of Underwater Cinematographer - are nowhere to be found. And they're missed, as those are the lines that stand out in one's mind and keep the record visceral during re-listens. Population has very few, if any of such particular moments.

Considering that there are more downfalls provided than upward progressions, Population still has its perks. What used to be a very loose band, both in the studio and live, has tightened up immensely; quite possibly due to the completely revamped rhythm section, now comprised of bassist Simon Lukasewich and drummer Tony Nesbitt-Larking. Also, not only is Adrian Jewett handling the band's vocal duties, but he has the wherewithal to share the spotlight in a duet with Emma Ditchburn that provides a fastidious contrast to the album's overall sound.

"Population is our dystopian novel record," keyboard player Ryan Lenssen has claimed of the album. "It is The Empire Strikes Back; it's the one that starts out with all the action and then leaves you hanging, makes you wait for Return of the Jedi." Well, isn't Empire largely considered the best of the bunch? (Don't debate me here) - Let's just hope we do get a Jedi follow-up and not the Star Wars prequels, and then we'll be safe.

Reviewed by John Bohannon
An LAS contributing writer based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, John Bohannon is also a regular contributor to the pages of Prefixmag.com, Daytrotter.com, and Impose Magazine.

See other reviews by John Bohannon

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