Music Belongs In The Background

Written by: PP on 16/08/2011 21:24:36

Sometimes the promotional material describes a piece of music better than you ever could, so I'll go ahead and borrow an excerpt from the stuff sent over to us by three-piece alternative/indie rockers ALSO from Los Angeles regarding their sound: "huge soundscapes coupled with moments of dark and ethereal moodiness". That statement hits the nail on the head when talking about their new album "Music Belongs In The Background", a record of soft alternative/indie rock that draws its overall sound from elements of brit pop, art rock, dreamy space rock and even darkwave in places.

The immediate reaction to ALSO's music should be how closely it resembles Coldplay's newer material, if Coldplay wrote songs from a saddened, dark art rock perspective instead. Other, more suitable parallels can be drawn to Band Of Horses and especially Elbow (or so I'm told), but the idea seems to be that ALSO take the sum of their influences and come up with a sound that's their own, a dark, dreamy take on mainstream alternative rock seen through the eyes of an artist instead of through the eyes of a business-minded marketer. That said, in between the somber moments of melancholic darkness, you'll get brighter pieces like "So Long" and "Call it Funny", where the band's spacious soundscape experiences a bit of sunlight on both the guitar sound and in the impressive vocals of vocalist Drew Conrad.

Still, "Music Belongs In The Background" is a very uniform piece of music. The pace is kept at an unhurried state throughout the album, allowing for the introspective melodies to flourish and grow into slow crescendos and soaring walls of sound. The obvious advantage is that the record is surrounded with an artistic atmosphere, as if it is a piece of art meant to be pondered upon for days, maybe even weeks, rather than a consumable product, which is something you'd associate with Band Of Horses or Coldplay, for instance. But there's no denying that the record could benefit from a few tempo changes - maybe a high-energy Brit rock track or a Morrissey-esque crowd pleaser? - which would act as the glue between the artistic tracks. They'd be the easy-going tracks that'd bring the sing along and wake up the crowd after fifteen-twenty minutes of ambient exploration of sonic space. Yes, "True" is an attempt at that, but it's not as effective as a megahit in the vein of The Killers would be in its situation. Regardless, "Music Belongs In The Background" is still an interesting piece of ambient indie / spacious alternative rock that fits right alongside the bands in the 'for the fans of' section below, without the ability to necessarily compete on even footing with their releases.


Download: So Long, By Now You Should Know, True
For the fans of: Coldplay, Elbow, Band Of Horses, The National
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 22.02.2011

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