» LATEST FEATURES

LITERATURE

 » 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 New Year
The End is Near
Touch & Go Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Have you ever felt as desperately lonely as the New Year's track "One Plus One Minus One Equals One"? I haven't, but that's the reason I adore it so much. Despite years of therapy, anti-depressants - you name it - there is something so incredibly broken about that track that it feels more real than anything I've ever experienced. To me, it symbolizes the core of despair that one can only reach when being completely honest and abiding the engulfing sadness. It's a perfectly human moment, but almost mythic in that regard.

The End is Near takes this feeling one step further, to a stage where you've been sad so long, you feel numb. "The End's Not Near" begins after a long, trying duration, or so it seems, because it is completely used up. The spent feeling parallels Hamlet's Ophelia, flower petals cascading around her hair as she drowns in pure water and fair skin. It feels as though suicide would bring poetic justice, and that it is the only worthwhile close to a life - as vocals chime in, "hiding from Kingdom Come," it is a call to evading the wrath of God when taking one's own life.

The precise playing and sporadic, loud guitars throughout the album function as intermittent cries for help or bursts of discontent, but all too late. Even by the second track, any notion of a God-filled world is gone, as it begins to sound like Pedro the Lion in an atheistic landscape, without the hope of salvation. "Sinking Ship" is mellow, dejected, and with an unconvincing hopefulness. The guitars bubble and rise in places, but there is no conviction, no true belief that things will get better.

"Chinese Handcuffs" moves from there as one of the most enjoyable, surprisingly spirited works on the disc. It is almost Moroccan in tone, hollow and rich but heightened by a pulse-like bass line and an engrossing awareness. It is the closest mark of idealism on the album, but even then stops short with the halting, disconnected reprise of "Plan B."

Many of the tracks have a candle-lit glow, flickering in the pitch darkness: "Disease" is reminiscent of Codeine, desolate and paranoid, and sporadically warm like finding consolation from those who just don't understand. By its close, it returns to despair, failing a connection or a change of heart but appreciative all the same.

"Age of Conceit" similarly attempts to force healing upon itself, marching along like a good little soldier. It rocks unapologetically, more so than any other cut on the album, but though hard-edged and fighting, is ultimately losing the battle. While a strong effort by all counts, we return once more to defeat.

By "18," the narrative embodiment has all but given up; cigarette-stained yellow fingers are more content with addiction than disenchantment, and move beyond to that inevitable lack of feeling that comes from hurting for too long. The End is Near remains too exhausted to wallow in misery, and at this point, any other resolve is completely gone.

The closing "Stranger to Kindness" is the final nail in the coffin, as it were. It is an aching transcription of a conversation with a lost loved one, asking what went wrong even when you don't want to know the answer. The light flickers in at a breakfast table, ashtray as centerpiece and niceties spoken from both ends, just to have your cautious hopes dashed once more. Lyrically, the phrase "Even when you smile out the side of your mouth, I can hear you say you want out" is utterly heart wrenching, but provides further evidence of a cyclical pattern that ends in a pessimistic low.

Working as well as an instrumental album as a poignant lyrical piece, The End is Near is more a touchingly human experience than anything else - you go through the ringer with the brothers Kadane, from depression to deadness to misguided hope and back again, and it leaves you as worn as every time you've felt it personally.

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

» MEDIA DOWNLOADS

» GOT STICKERS?

If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.

» WORLDWIDE DOMINATION

LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!