Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Album: The Seasonal
Self-released (??), 2009
Rating: ****** (6/10)
It was only a few weeks ago that I first heard of the new Brooklyn band How German Is It and here they are dropping an LP today. Talk about sneaking up on a person!
The Seasonal proves How German to be a creative and competent band with a lot of great ideas. But sadly, the whole is somehow less than the sum of its parts. The album seems unsure its own identity - variety from song to song is, of course, an essential component of a good album, but so is maintaining cohesion as a piece and as a band. This album sounds more like a retrospective, with stylistic jumps that are more confusing than bold.
It does seem as though there was a unifying vision behind this album. The lyrics show vocalist Patrick (last name, anyone?) working through some very real and difficult shit, and the emotional struggles chronicled are the album's greatest appeal.
However, in careening from a quaintly "off" indie style to rich and full radio-ready sounds, the band gets lost. There are some great (if cliched) melodies ("I Will Be Famous for You," "Nickel Twins") but there are also some that fail to move forward ("Giving Up the Ghost," "I Believe In Me"). The arrangements are similarly inconsistent, at times interesting, but at other times trite and monophonic (again, "I Believe In Me").
There's enough good ideas in this album to prove that with hard work, these guys could have something pretty great in them. There are hints of true talent and inspiration splattered all over The Seasonal, but it's not there yet. [MySpace]