A 'progressive' experiment gone horribly wrong
Antinomie is a pretentious patchwork fabric of far ranging genres. Atmospheric, melodramatic and a fumbling reach towards the progressive and experimental, the album's merits barely shine through a smattering of naff synths effects and incongruent, cheap sounding instrumentation.
Amongst the fray: drunken cowboy pop, gypsy swing, gothic melodrama, classical, neo-psych: even a pop at the atmospheric electronic so in vogue in recent years. The assembly of mismatched genres is more streamlined than in its predecessor Add A Day Going West, but Susurrus Station continue to err uncomfortably on the inartful, shallow, pre-owned cliche side of art in their erratic approach. They attempt to employ progressive electronic techniques but end up sounding inexpert. They attempt to fuse clashing experimental effects but they only end up clashing.
I cite Will Not Co as an example of both a puffed up track name and a pseudo-arty, beatnick approach to the sound. Throw in some shrill unmelodic vocal, some radio buzzes and whirrs, why not a guitar riff? Add hollow beats, a failed attempt at experimental electro, and some chanting - and it all grates on you like someone shouting on the telephone in a crowded train during rush hour. Lovely.
However Antinomie had me genuinely impressed at moments: Play The Fool had me excited with brightly catchy dance samples with child-like vocals layered over buzzing guitar and electro beats - but later on jarred by the abuse of that naff sounding brass synth. Hell could potentially be an atmospheric swagger of a track, again opening with a promising cowboy shuffle in the melody and those haunting child vocals. But then the whole thing started to disintegrate with some unnecessary guitar work and just plain unpleasant, discordant melody, and some sort of odd electronic effect. What was it? Was that a coo? Was this track haunted by ghost pigeons?
Every Other Color Gold is great apart from someone drumming with chopsticks on saucepans in the next room, and that naff synth brass again. Even title track Antinomie doesn't escape some cheap sounding organ synth: the sort that sounds great on an electronic disco track but just breaks the stillness and emotional depth I am doubtless these guys were going for when they made the track. And the album.
I won't go on. This thing is a mess. It has its moments of lucidity and it tries very hard - I can see what they're getting at - but for the most part it's all over the place. Susurrus Station are too avant garde for their own good. But this all falls under the (extremely generous) umbrella term of 'art'. So let's hope you disagree.