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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
We, The Vehicles

Rating: 7/10 ?

April 17, 2006
After the relatively ill-received Glass Floor, Maritime's newest one-sheet makes a well-formed and persuasive argument for fair treatment. It speaks of stepping out from "shadows of past lives" and asks that We, The Vehicles be based on its own merit, implying that Glass Floor was not. That could very well be true. It's hard to say if the listening audience expected too much too soon of Maritime, as The Promise Ring and The Dismemberment Plan had so recently broken up, or if we simply expected more than what we got. Regardless, We, The Vehicles is leaps and bounds more lovable than Maritime's debut and warrants every chance it asks for.

The sophomore release sounds immediately more crystalline; its pop is less overt and the subtlety works to its advantage. Likewise, the instrumentation is more involved and reflective, often living up to the potential we already knew these musicians had. Instead of oozing Sunshine-with-a-capital-S, We, The Vehicles depicts sparkling summer nothingness; it knows how closely contentment and boredom lie and explores the fine line without flinching. Its sound is not always happy, but it is always just on the other side.

While some tracks are absolutely reminiscent of these lads' former bands (especially The Promise Ring-tinged "We Don't Think, We Know", and "People, The Vehicles, which sounds like a skewed D-Plan ballad with Davey at the helm), Maritime comes off most like Tahiti 80 or the Postal Service, crafting lofty, affable pop concerned with pristine beauty. It can be ominous, especially when Eric Axelson's propulsive bass gets the spotlight (as on "Don't Say You Don't"), but it is good-natured, and the dichotomy is what makes it engaging.

Though they're not all winners - in spite of its noted strangeness, "German Engineering" sounds like it should be sung by a Disney ensemble, complete with flutes and bird samples - there are undoubtedly more hits than misses. "Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts" is a standout; its kinetic, intricate beat is impossibly danceable, its disco breeze flutters in through open windows. Despite its puddle-splashing, "Twins" has a remarkably hard edge, and conversely, "Protein and Poison" views the ennui of past Dismemberment Plan songs through the eyes of a child. It is a sunny, revved-up closer, tingling with promise but cognizant of ulterior motives.

Through it all, we realize there's a lot more going on here than many of us expected. Maritime may've had to beg for a level playing ground after being indelibly stamped an "ex-members-of" band, but in their pleas they have a point. We, The Vehicles absolutely deserves to be heard on its own.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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