Michael Cera

true that

Written by: HES on 01/09/2014 22:12:08

Michael Cera, the actor known from “Arrested Development”, “Juno” and other indie-smash hits also loiters with music in his spare time, previously having toured with “Mister Heavenly” and even playing a bit of mandolin on that Weezer song back in 2010. His surprise album "true that" however, I'm guessing was dropped under the radar on bandcamp because of Cera’s insecurities as a musician.

The album overall defies all general standards of album releases - and I guess rightly so, as it wasn’t really released as an album. The mere idea of attacking this 17 track monster has kept me up at night, most of the indie-scene clapping their little hands over one of their heroes defeat of his inner demons - I have even seen a post on Vulture Magazine saying the “album” was “really pretty good”. Is that the nicest way of saying “at least it didn’t suck”? Overall it seems the album has been received more like a gimmick rather than an actual release. This is not helped on by the album’s very pedestrian feel, sounding like it has actually been recorded in someone’s living room and the “album art” being a bad mobile phone image. But the question is whether we would even have paid any attention to its release if Cera hadn’t put his name on it?

If Cera has established one thing with this release it has got to be, that he actually knows how to play an instrument. He plays around with discord both on piano and guitar and especially the very low-fi and almost grotesque, instrumental “Moving In” is hauntingly beautiful - but as everything else on this mixtape, it completely lacks any sense of direction. One of the few songs that seem to have direction is the Blaze Foley cover “Clay Pigeons” with Cera’s naïve voice layered in echoes many times over. The disillusioned folk-tone of the song fits the mood of Cera’s publicly known persona, but through-out I am still fighting this feeling that this album is weird because the genre demands it and because Cera’s personal street-cred depends on it. Had he instead released an album we all could understand and interpret, the critique would have been way more piercing. Instead now everyone is flocking and congratulating the emperor on his wonderful new clothes, but really - is he not naked? I am not sure. But I think it’s a sad strategy to hide behind.

A great example of this is the track “What Gives” - it is poorly mixed, the drums are jeering your eardrums, the vocals sound like an impro-piece recorded as a sound-test then run through multiple editing tools to make it sound more believable for this to be the actual intent - but honestly, if I can put it bluntly - it sounds like the first time I myself used multiple layers in Audacity. Cera even adds a bit of what I expect to be the little girl in the album art’s talking. I mean it’s somehow endearing that the album is this naïve, but it’s just short of what the rest of us keeps as personal crafts projects on our hard drive just to find it years later and laugh at it. Overall the album shows us a glimpse of raw musical talent, but it seems to be going in no direction, wanting to convey very little - not to mention impress. I personally don’t seem to find the clothes on the emperor and as no other respected magazine has even tried to take the album serious, but rather just settling with writing a news story about how “not-that-bad” it is, I can’t seem to find any syllabus to teach me differently - any well-argumented (hell, even argumented) viewpoint to raise my doubts. But I honestly think it would suit the indie-scene to every once in a while call the bluff instead of sinking back in an arm chair and pretending to enjoy something that isn’t even “really pretty good”.


Download: Clay Pigeons, Moving In, Ruth
For The Fans Of: Novo Amor, Bright Eyes, Night Beds
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.08.2014

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXX Rockfreaks.net.