Kurt Vile & the Violators
Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 5/12
These Curious Thoughts
What Is It, And How Did It Get In There?
Written by: HES on 15/04/2013 22:58:44
We all know that the summer of love was a time of frolicking and sexual promiscuity. But I honestly had no idea that all the greats of the end-60’s/start-70’s got together and had a baby. But listening to “These Curious Thoughts” EP “What Is It, And How Did It Get In There?” I get the sneaking feeling that their point of reference is a couple of centuries old. If you listen closely you can hear Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Death – even latter references like Queen and Bowie, but overwhelmingly you hear Beatles, Beatles and Beatles. Oh and by the way, did I mention that the two founders live on two different sides of the world and still manage to spread cosmic love around them?
Unfortunately the EP comes in and out of brilliance but mainly spends its time in a very, very dark land of bad production, bad recordings and mediocre vocal performances. I wish there’d been put some more effort/money/training into this because the second song “Because She Is Love” is a wonderful performance of what Beatles did so well; a grungy, depressed, minor-based verse bridging into a power-positive, almost naïve love song kind of-chorus. But the Beatles-references don't end there: “Lead Balloon” is also reading very “Revolver” in its psychedelic rock-ish composition, while “Daughter of Morpheus” is a more prospective song, with a more modern version of the now defunct 70's organ.
But on the quieter “John Wayne” it becomes saddeningly obvious that there is a lot more to be desired in the vocal department of Sean Dunlop. I get the beauty of a more “real” and emotional rawness of an untrained voice. Bands like Brand New have made it their trademark to be a bit off-key and frail. But in this case, mixed with a horrible voice-editing with almost no bass-notes, it starts to sound more like unprofessionalism than a trade to be built upon. I understand how indie-bands struggle with these issues, but the human voice just has far too many wildly spectred facets to be rightfully portrayed through what sounds like a very cheap recording. The soundscape in most of the songs on the EP is infested with this lack of lower tones making it very narrow in its presentation.
So dear “These Curious Thoughts”, here are my curious thoughts: I wish you would invest in a proper recording. I wish you would double check your recordings for off-key notes before you release it. I wish you would venture more into a sound of your own instead of randomly copying giants like Beatles in whose company you will always seem lesser. Other than that there is some very solid song-writing on this album and you sense the great ideas being almost at the tip of their tongues but never making it to the final cut.
Download: Because She Is love, Lost In Confusion and Daughter of Morpheus
For the fans of: Jefferson Airplane, Beatles, Oasis
Release date: Q4 2012
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