Reviews

Euphemystic

09/10/2001 | Misterridiculous.com | www.misterridiculous.com | Album Review
About six months ago Saddle Creek released a split ep of Bright Eyes and Son, Ambulance. I wasn't terribly excited about the four Son, Ambulance tracks, but was looking forward to the release of a full length just the same. With a great deal of piano and simple songs and the slight sparkle of "Katie Come True" (which supposedly is about a friend of mine's older sister), I was willing to leave a door open for Son, Ambulance to walk through.
I hate to say this because it seems like the rudest thing you could possibly say about a musician, but it really seems that Son, Ambulance's singer/songwriter, Joe Knapp, has friends in high places. It's cute that Conor (of Bright Eyes) pushes so hard for his friend to get some of the recognition that has fallen into his lap. Unfortunately, whereas Conor is extremely talented and has an incredibly moving and haunting voice, Joe Knapp is achingly dull and his voice just doesn't do it for me. His "positive outlook and childlike optimism" screams out middle-class privilege and represents pretty much everything I hate about a genre that often gets referred to as "indie pop". You could say, "well at least they aren't pretending and singing about an oppression that doesn't exist" and this is true. I'd rather listen to Conor sort out his inner-demons and play so beautifully then Joe Knapp's off key simpleton joy any day.
That isn't to say that Euphemystic isn't without merit; there are at least a few songs that will find their way on to mix tapes..."A book laid on its binding" has a nice keyboard progression, simple acoustic guitar, and Joe doesn't try to sing high at all. I guess "Like a Friend" is musically interesting, and wisely the font used in the booklet of lyrics is unreadable so I can pretend that they aren't as bad as I think they are.. not that its hard to understand what is being sung, I just don't want to believe anyone could be this simple and not have to be helped getting changed in the morning.
Throughout the album, but particularly "A New Dress for Myself" features a really peppy bright piano. After considering it, that's what Joe should do... join a band and play the piano and not sing or write lyrics. I like to pretend that Carrot Top is singing these songs and that makes me laugh for a very long time.
Euphemystic

Euphemystic

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