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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 Perishers
Let There Be Morning
Nettwerk

Rating: 5.5/10 ?


June 9, 2005
One day you're a nobody working a 9-to-5 job in Stockholm, Sweden, riding the bus home like everyone else. Then your life takes a dramatic turn. Your band gets signed to a big-time label and your songs are heard on American TV melodramas like The O.C. and One Tree Hill. You think, "Maybe our A&R guy knows what he's doing."

Then the suit pitches an idea: "How about we do a five-minute DVD for the next record? It'll be great. We'll shoot in that small town in Sweden where you grew up. You'll do interviews, telling people about your musical background and how the band came together and how much being in The Perishers has changed your life. Then we'll show the four of you at home playing video games and cooking a spaghetti dinner, and we'll intersperse video clips of the band playing the singles off Let There Be Morning. We'll ask you, Ola Kluft, 'What's your favorite track off the new record?' and you'll say, 'Weekends.' And whoever buys the record will put on the CD, hit play and go right to that song, because Ola says it's the one he likes best."

It's at that point - being the unassuming, regular guys they claim to be in the video - The Perishers should have said, "Cut." But they didn't. No matter how contrived the whole project seemed or how silly they probably all felt, they played ball and went along with it - probably because it would be impolite to do otherwise. In the end, you get a sense that they lost their innocence to a marketing plan, even though it's readily apparent they are earnest about what they do, especially when Ola talks about the inspiration for "Weekends." A weary ballad set to fragile, wounded piano and sung in Ola's breathy tenor, it's a song for the "real heroes," the ones he used to ride the bus with every day. It's about the people who get up early to go to work and go home feeling tired, empty and unsatisfied. It's about their hopes and dreams and finding solace in sleeping in on Saturdays and "trying to get our share of excitement and fresh air."

There's no denying the beauty of that sentiment, or the idealism in Ola's voice. It's just too bad the DVD seems so staged; it's as if every scene is orchestrated to drive the point home that these are four young men with the purest of motives who just love doing everything together.

That's the image the A&R guy wants to sell you on, but it's a transparent ploy and one that winds up diminishing The Perishers. It leaves you wondering if all the angst you hear in Ola's lyrics is manufactured specifically for a target audience. It doesn't help that Let There Be Morning sounds like the paint-by-numbers, plaintive Brit-pop of bands like Coldplay or Starsailor, or, going back even further, Del Amitri, like in "Going Out." "Sway" trudges up a mountain of despair, carrying a heavy, melancholic piano melody on its back that brings A Cold Rush Of Blood To The Head. And the dry, listless acoustic guitar and placid percussion of "A Reminder" make for the calmer waters of Beck's Sea Change, only to sink in its depressive wake. There are moments when bright pop light briefly breaks through the clouds, like in the ringing guitars of "My Heart" and "Trouble Sleeping," and there's a Pernice Brothers kind of wistful bounce to the piano of "Still Here."

What poisons songs like "Still Here" is the lyrics. It's hard to feel sympathy for a guy who sings, "Take your problems somewhere else/I could use some help myself" and "So this world has left you bare/I'm sorry I no longer care/I wonder who'll be there for you when I am not." No you don't. You just got done saying you don't. And when you ask for sympathy later, which you inevitably do throughout Let There Be Morning, knock on someone else's door, Ola.

A duet between Ola and his former vocal teacher, Sara Isaksson, called "Pills" helps redeem Let There Be Morning. A more honest, sincere approach to dealing with depression, "Pills" sees The Perishers simplifying their sound and not going for the big, predictable, sweeping finish. Instead, a sparse acoustic guitar accompaniment suffices, providing weathered texture for tired voices that blend harmoniously together.

Too familiar, too gloomy and too bland, Let There Be Morning makes self-pity an art form. The rhythm section is timid and hardly noticeable at all. The guitar parts are mostly cribbed from other Britpop boy wonders and if it weren't for the richness of the piano, the beautiful, world-weary tones of the vocals and the occasional pretty melody, Let There Be Morning would be pronounced dead by sunup.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

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