The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Bishop Allen: Lights out (Dead Oceans, 2014)

Bishop Allen - Lights Out

Quizás algo menos efervescentes, menos saltarines y menos frescos, Bishop Allen volvieron en 2014 tras cinco años de ausencia…

“The shtick here, of course, is the juxtaposition of lyrical doomsday with cheery keyboards and male-female harmonies. These songs are supposed to be at war with themselves, placid vocals aligning with major key instrumentals to make the darkness at the center seem utterly mismatched. It’s worked before on records like Passion Pit’s Gossamer, but that’s because their playing wasn’t nearly as bland as Bishop Allen’s is on Lights Out. This album’s hooks either hit or miss, and even when they hit, hackneyed synth burbles struggle to engage. “Bread Crumbs” is the best example: a forgettable piano melody that soon gives way to a sparse, uninteresting bounce, as Rice and his wife Darbie repeat “Breadcrumbs” and “Home” like twee zombies.
It’s not that Bishop Allen are wanting for words or edginess, since the next track, “No Conditions”, is all lyrical and visceral stunts. “Nothing and nowhere and no one is not a pretender/ But remember/ No surrender,” Rice commands, believably convoluted, as Rudder’s power pop guitar flares and barks. Then, with gently flanging textures underneath him: “Every test could be wrong/ Then again, every test could be right/ No way to be certain.” Speaking from on high, he’s still got beads of sweat collecting on his forehead. Rice is just as anxious as you are about all that uncertainty.
Unfortunately, his trepidation is palpable in more places than it should be. Bishop Allen play it safe beyond any level of broad appeal, which, after five years away, isn’t exactly the best way to mark a grand return. Lights Out offers plenty of pop nuggets — a few of them punchy and expansive, most others losing steam right out of the gate. None are inherently flawed, but maybe some weak spots would have been a fair trade to make for a few more attempted thrills. Deresiewicz’s words convey it most bluntly: Bishop Allen, like the Ivy League graduates he pities, are “smart, talented, and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose … heading meekly in the same direction.” (Consequence of Sound)

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19 julio, 2015 - Posted by | Bishop Allen

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