Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Film School": Music Review

Not The Cure but an amazing simulation for much of this San Francisco-based but very Brit-indie styled band's debut. Greg Berton sounds more like Robert Smith as the songs progress, until by track 5, "Breet," I defy you to tell the difference. That's an oblique form of not only flattery but admiration, for I liked FS' take on early/mid-period Cure as much as the original band. Track 6, "11:11," starts off like "10:15 on a Saturday Night," and FS can summon up the nagging, melodic, puffy malaise of their influences well.

The last songs edge into My Bloody Valentine's less-distorted, earlier pop style; and The Verve perhaps can be recalled in these grooves, which rely heavily on atmospheric density and mordant moods. (This move towards more distortion and less Cure-like structure will continue on their 2007 follow-up, "Hideout," reviewed by me in my next entry.) I like this approach, even if the shift away on the latter portion from Smith-like vocals only accentuates the album's previous reliance on a venerable indie-pop template. I'm confused by the promotional material from their apt label-- given its forebears-- Beggars Banquet. I hear no trace of "The Who" or "drone" or "obscure electronica," not to mention "metal," and barely a trace now and then of "Floyd." I do hear "alternative 80s" clear if not always loud.

So, this may not be what those following the blurbs may expect, for the advertising words don't match the sounds here often unless "alternative 80s." It's perhaps a good choice for those already nostalgic for the days of "college rock" on the original artists released by Beggars Banquet, however. In this homage and reply to these bands, Film School provides a record that does not update these predecessors so much as thank them. (Posted to Amazon US 9-14-09)

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