The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Film School: Fission (2010)


El que fuera proyecto de Scott Kannberg (ex-Pavement) ha ido tomando forma con los años y se ha establecido como una banda consolidada en la que el tándem Greg Bertens-Lorelei Plotczyk se ha hecho definitivamente con los mandos creativos. Este álbum les ha servido igualmente para abrir sus miras hacia un estilo más abierto a sonidos diversos, huyendo en parte del Shoegaze de sus primeras entregas. Su música se ha dulcificado en parte, y se han abierto a juegos con sintetizadores (Heart full of pentagons) y a sonidos más electrónicos (When I´m yours, Still might); abriendo su campo de influencias a gentes como New Order o Slowdive. Ésto no quiere decir que sea malo, evidentemente, ya que su campo de sonoridad se ha enriquecido y hay guiños igualmente al Dream-Pop (Time to listen, Direct, Sunny day) más edulcorado. Aunque ello no quiere decir que no haya grandes temas en su onda más conocida, la del Shoegaze más cercano al Noise-Pop: Nothing´s mine, Find you out, o la genial Distant life, sin duda el tema más guitarrero de la colección y que tiene un cierto sabor añejo a los ochenta de Joy Division realmente agradable. Un disco sin duda de lo más diverso, y que sin tener ningún tema de esos que nos suenan a himno juvenil, sin duda se deja escuchar con mucha facilidad. Lástima que, como se dice en la crónica que acompaño, esa variedad de sonidos ya la realicen gentes como Wild Nothing, Depreciation Guild o School of Seven Bells. El mérito de una banda como Film School de adaptarse a los nuevos tiempos está ahí en cualquier caso.

Film School – Fission (2010)

“California’s Film School had previously explored the well-trod ground between distortion and beauty without much variety, but Fission actually shows their musical vision changing into something more splintered and colorful. The group still leans hard on their most beloved sounds: single-note guitar peals that bounce off springing reverb, softly mumbled vocals, thick bass riffs, and big, billowy swaths of synthesizer. But while they once had a sort of rainy-day murk about them, these textures now sparkle like burnished silver.
Certainly, the transformation is a good look for a band that spent too long playing in the shadows. The pitch-shifted samples and electro-drum rattles of “Heart Full of Pentagons” give a slick and stylish underpinning to Greg Bertens’ unusually forceful vocals. “Heart” is a definite career highlight, starting off an album-opening triad where Film School sound like they’re on the verge of establishing a distinctiveness that their prior work lacked. “When I’m Yours” and “Time to Listen” are hard-charging and simultaneously spooky, something closer to the Cure at their most post-punk. And while the group still isn’t going to be known for big hooks, the double-time kick of “Distant Life” and “Sunny Day” are accessible enough to frame Film School as students of the pop side of shoegaze as opposed to just the blown-out part.
Despite of all the sonic additions, the album’s urgency is what feels most new. When Fission is at its best, you feel like Film School was tiring of being a band that could accurately call an album Hideout. Though the airhorn guitar blast of “Waited” would’ve fit on their prior records, here it feels like a veil of secrecy has been lifted on an intimate conversation between Bertens and bassist Lorelei Plotczyk. But then the energy seems to float away during the pleasant but anodyne electronic indie-pop of Fission’s midsection.
To play off something Jayson Greene wrote on this site last year, whether it’s gangsta rap or Appalachian folk, there’s always a pleasure in hearing an artist expertly working within the parameters of their idealized form of music. In Film School’s case, that terrain encompasses pretty much anything that’s ever been released on the 4AD label or held the appellate of “-gaze.” The problem is that their particular field never lacks for competition, and when a younger act like Wild Nothing or the Depreciation Guild puts their own stamp on this sound by stressing a winsome melodicism or electronic trickery, you get a weird disappointment from the fact that Fission is Film School’s most diverse album to date. In some ways, the diversity works against them. Rather than establishing their own identity or finally making the leap from good to great, they simply remind you of more bands than they did before” (

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22 octubre, 2010 Posted by | Film School | 1 comentario


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