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Let’s get the open-ended declarations out there first: the music of Climber is much more disjointed in style and focus than I typically prefer, but there is good stuff here. When The Mystic is on point, it delivers this ambient, chilled-out sort of electro-funk that’s reminiscent of Moroder working with ‘70s disco outfits while they all pop Ambien. The strongest tracks here are the opener and closer, “The Simians Speak” and “Advice” respectively, though cuts like “Stepping Into New Rooms,” “I May As Well Have A Monocle,” and “Remember The Renaissance?” are cool, calm, and collected bits of spacey, ‘70s era lite-prog.
I dig the subtle grooves laid down by the excellent rhythm section, as well as the white-boy-soul vocals that give the occasionally ethereal music some heft so that it doesn’t wander off into the atmosphere. The lyrics are cryptically playful, the energy is up, and the keyboard riffs are whimsical in tone. The tunes might be tacitly akin to reconstituted New Wave, but I prefer to listen for the crisp ‘90s Brit-pop that peeks out of in the overall mix.
Unfortunately, there are far too many instances when Climber attempts to mix up the flavors of Air, Radiohead, and Yes, but the result is usually a bland, uninspired track like “The Risk Of The Middle Way” or “I Have Seen Everything.” Selections like “We Are The New Man,” “Flying Cars,” and “Gladly I Would Leave” evince someone trying to re-imagine Pink Floyd through the lens of Radiohead’s Amnesiac and Hail To The Thief. In short, I have no problems with bands trying to make “serious” music, but I took take issue when it results in a record with multiple personality disorder.
I am intrigued by what Climber endeavors to create with The Mystic – a sort of futuristic, science-fiction fairy tale set to music. I’m a nerd; I dig that sort of stuff, and you can tell just by looking at my bookshelves. It’s as if, when searching for influences, the guys couldn’t decide between The Princess Bride, The Labyrinth, and The Dark Crystal, much less Bauhaus, The Cure, and the music of Thom Yorke and friends. If you’re going to tease me with quality white-boy-stlyed funk and electro, you’d better bring the goods and bring them often.