Saturday, August 8, 2009

COSMO GAMING review Pictures of Then
Music: Pictures of Then: And the Wicked Sea
Our Take
There has been a real resurgence of bands paying homage to old British pop
music, and though the style hasn’t become completely saturated yet there are
more groups now playing this brand of music than listeners may be able to
remember. One of the relatively recent additions to the genre is Minneapolis
based Pictures of Then, whose sophomore album And the Wicked Sea came out
earlier this week. And though these guys wear these influences on their
sleeves, they do so in such a natural way that they are likely to still
generate some buzz from those who give their music a chance.

I find it quite interesting that Pictures of Then is able to create music
that sounds so remarkably close to many of the older British pop acts,
considering that they are not from Britain at all. But despite this very
obvious fact, the instrumentalists are able to create material that sounds
completely natural and does emulate the original quite well (kind of like
when you go to see an animal like a zebra in a zoo, the habitat looks
natural but is clearly artificial). However, this may also be one of the
band’s biggest problems. You see, when one listens to a track from And the
Wicked Sea they will find that there are some decent melodic hooks that are
somewhat breezy and pleasant. Yet when one listens to the album as a whole,
every single track sounds like this and everything just kind of blends
together. I could still see Pictures of Then finding a decent sized
audience, but the group does need to work on making each song
distinguishable from the last.

Despite this relatively big flaw, one element that does help this band out
significantly would have to be their vocals, as their singer has a very
light and poppy voice that listeners are sure to enjoy. At times the singing
reminds me of Kevin Barnes from Of Montreal only without all of the twee
ranges, and it does seem likely that fans of that group will be able to
appreciate Pictures of Then. What I do also like about And the Wicked Sea is
that despite the fact that the vocals are very melodic and laid back, they
have a sense of energy that ensures they are often the focal point of the
music and don’t get lost in the background. It’s a small detail, but it does
help these guys out quite a bit.

I like And the Wicked Sea, but I don’t love it and the reason for this is
likely due to the fact that the majority of the songs sound very similar to
one another and have the same structure. If Pictures of Then can do this
then I could really see them becoming a major sensation, but for now they’re
a band that a select group of people will really get into and everyone else
will find to be good background music but not a whole lot else.
Chris Dahlberg
August 06, 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment