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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
Hope 12
Nude Descending a Staircase
Streetcar Music International

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Sometimes when I get a big stack of CD's, I look at the cover of each and guess what the insides are going to sound like (Yes, my life really is that boring). You may think I am lying, but from the moment I saw this album, I just knew there was going to be a band with sparse vocals and slow meanderings in the various forms of slow rock. I could even guess there would be a lot of talking over music, instead of singing. The cover just felt like that, and whoever designed it did a great job encompassing the sound of this band. Maybe it was an easy guess on my part. There have been a lot of bands over the last twelve to thirteen years that get lost in slow, brooding music with some talking and some prerecorded voices over repetitive, driving almost melodies. Still I must compliment the band on committing to their sound from the cover of the album to the last note of each song. Music like this is often hard for this type of band to commit to.

The music on the CD has the unique ability to get into your head through the back door. I must have listened to this CD ten times, many of them intently listening with not much else to do and every time this music some how flows into the background of my consciousness. I am paying attention for the first five minutes, then I am suddenly wondering when the last time I clipped my toenails was. The music is not boring, though. Without paying attention, the listener can still recognize melodies and some cool drums from previous listens. Much of the music is familiar because it calls to mind other artists and this can be bothersome, but never any one artist enough to complain about it on a band's first CD.

Nude Descending a Staircase is not a perfect album.. I was not very impressed with the frequent talk vocals and when in "topographies" the singer basically reads map instructions from a book, I am not happy at all. The music that has been dangling quite nicely in the back of my head, steams into forefront with these bad lyrics. There are also separate occurrences of the German language, which are not too exciting either. With my limited knowledge of German, (most people wouldn't consider two college years limited, but just trust me) I think that it is mostly stuff like counting and perhaps map directions again. If bands are going to bring us the German language, I wish they would use it for something other than the eerie effect it is supposed to have.

Perhaps not challenging itself as a band enough, (especially in the vocal department), The Hope 12 has written an album that is a good stepping stone and not a bad listen. Their next album, which I believe is on the horizon, will be the real test on how to judge this band. If they expand on their sound and the sounds they borrow, they could turn into a band people will want to hear for a long time. They must grow on their sound, which is focused, but not complete. If they do not, then the next review will probably not be kind.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher

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