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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Masters of the Hemisphere
Permanent Stranger EP
dcBaltimore2012 Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
I thought bands generally growled and spat at you when you tried to compare them to other bands, but Masters of the Hemisphere apparently welcome Belle & Sebastian comparisons; right there in the liner notes it says "RIYL: Belle & Sebastian" (RIYL stands for Recommended If You Like; act like you know). So, fine, I'll say it: Masters of the Hemisphere sound like Belle & Sebastian. Well, kinda. Actually I think they sound more like Apples in Stereo, but no one cares what I think, right? I mean, who am I? I'm nobody.

Masters of the Hemisphere, however, are somebodies - they're musicians, and they can write songs. This EP has six of 'em (songs, six songs). The first song is called "Summertime, That's When the Good Times Start," and before I listened to it I thought "Oh, THERE'S the Belle & Sebastian connection," Belle & Sebastian having already written a song - an excellent song - called "I Know Where the Summer Goes"; if you've never heard it then quick! run and hear it, I'll just wait here. So understandably I had high hopes for "Summertime." And here's the good news - it's a pretty good tune, catchy with a good beat. The lyrics suck, though: waaaaay too literal for my liking; like ULTRA- literal - "put on your short sleeve t-shirts" and junk like that. Hey, I'm all for songs about summertime, there's no better season to write pop songs ABOUT, but the lyrics should be more than a bland list of things people do in summertime. I mean, there's a part about having a barbeque party and drinking soda while your parents drink beer - GEEZ.

The next five songs are okee-doke. "Permanent Stranger" isn't as good as Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger" (not even close, but then "Beautiful Stranger" is a masterpiece so it's an unfair comparison); I have no opinion on "When People Were Younger"; "Time Passes Slowly" has an annoying phony tape fuzz tacked on (for aesthetic purposes, I guess); "Chance of Growing Apart" tries to be all soft and sweet but good LORD the dude can't sing; and "Uncola" has a cute "Ha ha ha" refrain. None of the songs are terribly original or even exciting. I wonder what hemisphere the Masters of the Hemisphere are masters of?

Reviewed by Matt Ozga

See other reviews by Matt Ozga



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