Sidewaytown

Years In The Wall

Written by: DR on 08/12/2009 18:57:10

I've always wondered why bands feel the need to have such long, drawn out biographies about how their music was inspired. I mean, does anybody really care that Person A was lost but found themselves in their music? Mr. Sidewaytown (i.e. Markus Baltes) has such a biography. Sigh. I did, however, find solace in our mutual respect for Sigur Ros, and about how they have a completely unique hold on an audience. Markus Baltes wants to bring this concept to Sidewaytown. Audacious, yes, but he cannot be faulted for lack of ambition, or for passion. It wouldn't at all surprise me if many endeared themselves to Baltes and his clear love - he's in this for the music, and not success. However, passion doesn't always translate into ability.

"Sorry For The Bad View" starts things off with some gentle guitar work, as the soft vocals on top almost glide out "It's not a cage, it's not a cage, it's just a room without any doors / it's my own way, a way to say how much I want you to stay". It's a promising start, and the typically post-rock guitars in the background throughout most of this song certainly don't discredit the "skygazing post-rock symphony" claim on the front cover of "Years In The Wall". The majority of the rest of the album does though. There's a lot to forget here, "Beautiful Accident" isn't one of them as it's a fine song, largely due to it's ambient opening and the way Baltes emotively croons "Please, stay here forever", towards the end it erupts in one hell of a symphonic swell. Other than those, there isn't really enough worth mentioning, in a positive light that is.

Vocally he sounds limited, able to cry as delicate as you like, but lacks any substantial ability to really belt out a note - which on occasion could really have been useful. Also, there isn't the amount of creativity or flair required to give them individuality, you'll frequently forget which song it is you're listening to. The songs need to stand on their own rather than becoming a big ambient mush. Furthermore, the production is poor, the drums are too overbearing, the guitars sound bullied into the background and if there is a bass, I can't hear it.

Markus Baltes does have ability. But his dream of hypnotising an audience with his music is some way off at the moment. "Years In The Wall" doesn't quite hold your attentions or draw out your affections, it doesn't press the repeat button for itself. When listening to this album a little devil is likely to appear on your shoulder, and he'll tell you that you should listen to Sigur Ros instead, and you're going to listen to him because those Gods from Iceland have this field mastered.

6

Download: Sorry For The Bad View, Beautiful Accident
For Fans of: Sigur Ros, Destroyalldaydreamers
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 27.11.2009
Viva Hate Records

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