Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ann - Life is on Track

Experimental Rock
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  • 5 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
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  • Listening recommendations: If Only You Knew
“Acoustic” and “experimental” don't seem like a natural marriage of musical styles, at least not in my mind, so it was with raised eyebrow that I went in to reviewing “Life is on Track”. I must say, I was caught off guard by the record, though 'acoustic' didn't play as big a role as I thought it might. The vocals here are to be put simply, terrible sounding like they were recorded at the bottom of a mineshaft. In fact, the entire record has a really rough, dirty sound to it, lo-fi to the absolute nth degree. The quote unquote “bonus track” 'Ode to the Roma' sounds like a 5th generation bootleg recorded on a phone from the crowd of a dive bar show. And yet, when Ann doesn't have distinct attempts at vocals, the cacophony of noise manages to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. All of this doesn't remove the fact that an acoustic guitar is on display quite prominently when you can easily distinguish what is being played. 'She' sounds like a battle of acoustic guitars with quite easily the best vocals on this whole record. 'A Brief Pleasure' is the guitar high mark, and lives up to its name. Now I can't tell if the ambiance you hear is created intentionally as part of the songs, or if it's actually that the recording and mixing of these songs is off (or perhaps live in a room with thoroughly crap acoustics) and the varying instruments all start gelling together to create this bright, displaced music that sounds like it's emanating from everywhere and nowhere all at once. When things work, intentionally or not, these songs are rather tranquil, as if Sigur Ros stripped back the production of one of their records and just let it all hang out, warts and all. For me these are the best parts, and make up about half the EP. It's hard to recommend a record you can tell is so rough and shoddily put together but someone is bound to find some of the same elements that I did and enjoy them. Why not give "Life is on Track" a shot?

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