Reviews

The Convenience of Indecision

Author: Orlando Goodall
10/23/2001 | The Blooding | Album Review
An album jam packed with tunes that The strokes and Stephen Malkmus would sell their sneakers for, A band who exude a "too-cool-for-school-ness"‚ the way Sonic Youth once managed to, a golden nugget in the current wave of NYC bands. Yet despite all of this you can't but the record on these shores folks.
You can get hold of Œ The convenience of indecision‚ from most music import sites on the web though, or just go to their record labels page www.saddle-creek.com. You may already be acquainted with the American indie label Saddle creek through the somewhat better known band Bright eyes. They are a collective who make a sound which is best described as that over used term Œeclectic‚. Their music is fragile in its form and moving in its melody. If you‚re yet to be introduced to Bright eyes then their 2000 release ŒFevers & Mirrors‚ is the most accessible place to begin, it's available on Wichita records.
While we're on the subject of Bright eyes I feel obligated to mention that the bands front man Conor Oberst is the brother of Sorry About Dresden's (or SAD as I will now unfortunately refer to them) Vocalist/guitarist, who has his records produced by Mike Mogis who plays the majority of instruments on present day Bright eyes songs. Got that? It's not important, what does matter though are some of the bands who reside in the Saddle creek stable. The company run from a house in Omaha Nebraska, originally christened Lumberjack records was formed as the catalyst to release the first Bright eyes album. The company itself is now run by some of the bands on the label and managed by a couple of their friends, these bands include the already mentioned SAD and Bright eyes, but also the feel good euphoric pop of ŒSon,Ambulance‚ as well as Cursive and The faint. The faint may not need an introduction, but if you haven't followed their rise from lo-fi guitar swingers to the soon-to-be-massive creators of full on electronic Cacophonies, then you probably soon will. This is thanks to the NME taking it upon themselves to actually champion an innovative band, incorporating The Faint in their celebratory tours that have just gone.
Moving on, a more fitting group to this fanzine are the mighty Cursive.
Their songs are power injected bitter laments, akin to the D.C-hardcore
angular sound. What makes Cursive stand out of the crowd in a sudden surge in Œemo‚ bands is front man Tim Kashers ear for a proper tune. They often conform to a Fugazi style chord structure, but they sound great when they're pop sensibilities shine through like a latter day At The Drive In. On their 2000 LP ŒDomestica‚ and the more recent EP ŒBurst and Bloom‚ Kashers lyrics are as focused as his music. Gut-wrenching missives inspired by a failed marriage constantly make the songs stronger, like on ŒThe Martyr‚ for instance; „And thustly it ends, depression seeps in, on a lonely messiah, now he drinks with the lepers, losing a limb, his better half, a glass once half full, a head hung half mast‰.
So after all these great bands where does Sorry About Dresden come in? It's simple, each band I have mentioned are an acquired taste. They‚re all special in their own way but would appear a bit out of place on day time T.V, while still staying true to their roots except for SAD with ŒThe convenience of indecision‚ they could pull it off. These college style punk-pop songs form a consistent proper rock‚n‚roll album (credit to producer Mogis). Admittedly the band are sometimes wilfully obscure with song titles like Œfaulty math, tired horses‚ or ŒCarthage must be
destroyed‚. It‚s when you pick up on the lyrics that are intertwined with the melody though that you realise this bands genius. „ She is his capitol, he is her stake, theirs is a bond, nothing can break?it must be wonderful, to be so miserable‰ (The happy couple) a song about a relationship that was sour from the word go?
The majority of the albums tracks are pure pop diamonds barely 3 minutes
long that manage to incorporate the melodies of Pavement on a good day and the catchier side (read; relevant) of Nirvana. ŒOne version of events‚ focuses the dumb fun of a teenage Greenday or that Nada surf tune ŒPopular‚ into a 2 minute 20 second shout-along. While the other songs shed light on an emotive song writing skill that would make the likes of Elbow or Radiohead era Ok computer fall off their stools. The album also manages to make new groups like Crackout and The electric soft parade come across as hollow and perhaps even trivial.
I guess that the people who were lucky enough to be around the likes of
A.T.D.I from the beginning knew that they were witnessing something
special. ŒThe convenience of indecision‚ is the only album I own by Sorry about Dresden, and I wasn‚t there from the beginning (they formed in 97), but I am sure they will be mentioned in the same breath as today‚s apparent pop heroes like The strokes and The white stripes. Before this happens though, the UK mainstream music media and record companies need to wise up and do their jobs. They have to start bringing us this standard of new music (along with The junket, Cursive and Exeter‚s own Kidsnearwater) and stop trying to pass us off with soul-less nu-metal (Linkin park or Vex red in scary make up anyone?) or Pusedo rock stars who name drop Elton fucking John (Ryan Adams?) no I didn‚t think so.
9/10


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