» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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
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
BCore Disc

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
It's that classic story yet again: boy discovers band, boy falls in love with band, band betrays boy by falling way below the mark. Unlike Aina's earlier efforts, its quite simple here - Aina fail to produce the goods. Quite how I'm not too sure, but Chrysanthemum doesn't begin to fill the gap I held in reserve for the next Aina release - a real head-scratcher.

Aina's debut self-titled album is quite literally one of my all-time favourites. There is an obvious Jawbox influence that is evident throughout, but it builds on what Jawbox left, adding a pinch of discordancy and a seasoning of smart time-changes. Although complex, a melancholic charm oozes through consistently, making it appreciable on a number of levels. You can relax and let it wash over you, or really get your teeth into it, as unconventional as it is; there is plenty to bite into.

But it's this new four-track EP on trial here, and the jury seems unconvinced. "Cat & Dog" is the first track on offer and as solid as it is, it stagnates horribly, particularly for a band as innovative. It hints more at Hey Mercedes, which on the surface is no bad thing, but it lacks charm, leaving a bitter taste of indifference. "International Event" is the most substantial of the tracks, showing traces of their older material. If the other tracks followed in that vein I'd have less to whine about. "Catalina" is an anti-climax, probably written in the studio during a tea break. "Cat & Dog TV" is literally the chorus from the first song "Cat & Dog". There may be a subtle difference but I haven't spotted it. At 20 seconds in length it's pretty pointless, and it is over before the wheels are really in motion.

This 'built-in obsolescence' seems almost inevitable of some bands. Their most cutting-edge and original material is cheapened by a descent into mediocrity. It could be harsh of me to judge a band on the sake of one four-song EP, which lasts little over ten minutes, but its something I feared after their previous album, Bipartite. I beg Aina to prove me wrong, to show me that their finest is not gone and forgotten, but if this is a taster of what is to come I'd take it as a sign that its time for me to put my affection for Aina to bed.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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