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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
His Name Is Alive
Detrola
Reincarnate

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


March 8, 2006
While there are facts to the contrary, sometimes it feels like His Name Is Alive has more critics than fans. Mouth By Mouth was [rightfully] hailed as perfect when it came out in 1993, and since then the band has heard more than its share of whining about their branching off into new territory. When Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth ventured too far from the band's signature brand of eccentric dream pop, a split could be felt among HNIA's fans. There were those who stayed wrapped in the gauzy blankets of the band's older catalog and those who would follow them to the edge of eternity, trusting their destination.

Detrola is a resting ground for both parties - a place for truce and unification. It is the latest in a list of differently-perfect albums from His Name Is Alive, and is so well-centered between both ends of the spectrum that it is the album we should all be able to agree upon. Balanced between the late-night electronic hints are the folky, torch vocals of Lovetta Sharie Pippen and the hazy echoes of dreams past. In truth, every one of the band's albums is touched on and can be heard within the recesses of Detrola, and whichever release is your favorite, there is something for you here.

It can be dizzying to mark the progress of this CD. It begins in the vein of traditional murder ballad ("Introduction"), moves to titillating, sweeping synthetic dips ("After I Leave U"), centers in on warm vocals and horns ("I Thought I Saw") and shifts to New Order-inspired, twinkling instrumentation ("In My Dream") in the first four tracks alone. We're treated to a downbeat dance minuet ("*C*A*T*S*") and a galloping Vaudevillian sing-along ("Get Your Curse") as well; all this without mentioning the centerpiece of the album, "Your Bones", where a bare whisper and a rusty leak turn beautifully bone-chilling.

The juxtaposition of the tracks is supremely striking, especially in the case of the final two tracks, "Seven Minutes" and "Send My Face". The former upstages Annie by filtering HNIA's brand of enveloping, glitchy dance-pop through a screen of Prince and Devo. Its hyperawareness is remarkable, as is its unexpected slide into "Send My Face", which is the culmination of the band's sound rolled into one incredible expanse. The final track cascades in bittersweet, wintry patterns, its electro-acoustic mingling resonating as the disc winds down to a stop. Tracks contradict one another in style, and moments swell with complexity, but Detrola still achieves its goal as an utterly enjoyable album.

Spellbinding and eclectic with the ability to be both eerie and gentle, Detrola is the best of the best of what His Name Is Alive has to offer.

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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