Album: Spirit Youth
Rating: ***** (5/10)
So Depreciation Guild are three attractive
Spirit Youth starts with cheesy electronics that open into a reasonably dense wall of sound and an interesting-enough melody. If the album kept this up, it would be decent, even interesting, but only three or four minutes in, the melody shifts to something off Top 40* radio - you know, where the guy's voice drifts around to a bunch of notes so that the tweenage girls think he's so talented. Not that Depreciation Guild are trying to win over tweenage girls - but then again, maybe they are.
The lyrics are deeply lamentable. A song titled "Crucify You" doesn't exactly bode well and it certainly lives up to expectations: "Sometimes I can't control the things I do / but you know I always want the best for you / ...I will crucify you." Yikes. And the rest of the album follows similar lines, although luckily, sometimes the lyrics aren't really audible.
With the highish, processed male vocals, Depreciation Guild sound like Mew but without the darkness and volume that keeps Mew at least semi-interesting. Instead, Spirit Youth is flowery and sappy and even formulaic. I like a good pop melody, but a good pop melody is like the Beatles or even like Depreciation Guild's Kurt Feldman's other band, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. It's not this formless three note banality.
Now, the shoegazer in me does have to give the band some credit. Each song is packed with a shimmering wall of sound and the arrangements - electronic lines cutting in and out, layer upon layer of processed guitar, it's good, solid, dreamy noise pop. There's nothing amateurish about Spirit Youth, particularly where sonic polish is concerned. Every sound in every song seems painstakingly shaped and mixed, forming lush waves of noise that few bands could match.
However, the sonic success is not enough to really make this album worthwhile. Twice, I tried to relisten to this album today to refresh my memory for the review, and both times, I could only sit through a few songs, all with the same sound, same tempo and same nebulous sort of melody, before I shut it down and turned on Sleigh Bells.
Hey, at least the album art is cool! [myspace]
* There are some good songs in the Top 40 from time to time. I am just referring to the bad Top 40 songs. And that is the majority.