Modern Sounds In Science Fiction

Written by: HES on 22/08/2013 23:13:55

I'll honestly admit that I did not like this album to start out with. Titles are your classic indie band - a bit too quirky, a bit too ambient, a bit too hipster for a rock reviewer to take seriously. So with all my might I tried to hate this New Haven/San Fransisco phenomenon led by the mysterious "Brad". For some reason the band fell apart in 2004 and later reunited and made an album called "Dirt Bell" that apparently was a big deal. Brad Amorosino (as hours of googling told me was his last name) decided to send back some lyrics from San Francisco to his band mates in New Haven. And now there's an album. The last one he says. And I wanted to hate it and its limited edition vinyl-version with great, artistic cover art. But I can't. And let me tell you why:

This is some of the weirdest shit stuff I've heard in a while. Amorosino is for the most part chanting quietly over a backdrop of sounds that remind me most of Danish minimal techno artists, Pinkunoizu. Like a wave of static, ambience, reverbing spaciousness - "Modern Sounds In Science Fiction" is an old, empty room full of sunshine and dust. "Carousel" is Beatles circa-Yellow Submarine, with strategically off key strumming on an acoustic guitar and an occasional visit from a citar - or at least something very annoyingly high pitched until your brain just accepts the weirdness and the chaos.

"Be Not Afraid" is a waltzing, tambourine-driven, organ-featuring lullaby with Amorosino chanting "oh be not afraid, oh be not afraid, oh be not afraid". Yet I am a bit afraid. Afraid that I don't really understand this album still. All I can tell is that it is growing on me despite the following facts: It is so artsy you first off get the feeling that you'll never understand it. The vocals are placed so far in back of the mix, that you kind of question whether they were meant to be heard and most of this album is what most sane people would refer to as "noise". But. It is working for me. It genuinely makes me fall into the same kind of beautiful trance that Death Cab For Cutie normally is the only band to provoke in me.

Behind the noisy exterior is another level of craftsmanship. Worth mentioning is the eminent guitar-magic as the high pitch stings of single string strokes break through the old dusty carpet of static. The person behind the synths also deserve a medal for absolutely breaking into another dimension of fullness, softness and sound so dense it hits you like a soft warm duvet. And even if this album has been called "melancholic" in many reviews, Titles still manage to keep the feeling uplifting - soaring. The melancholy seems like the tale that is being told, however, the soundscape is so positive and relaxed that it puts the stories in past tense.

So if you're into musical meditation with some far away friends - who never really come clean about who they are and what we're meditating on - then you should hang out with Titles. It's not modern sounds and it's not science fiction, but for some reason, it works. This is however not an album for you, if you prefer it short, hard and to the point. Titles don't do that short, they definitely don't do hard (I'm still not sure if they even qualify for rock) and I don't believe they ever reach a point. The album just continues into some kind of infinity loop in your mind. You're trapped in that honey-coloured, dusty living room until you break the spell by hitting the "stop"-button.


Download: Odyssey, Carousel, Starry Night, Nothing
For The Fans Of: Pinkunoizu, Death Cab For Cutie, Far Away From Fiji
Listen: bandcamp

Release Date 25.06.2013
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