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School of Language, "Sea From Shore"

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Albums like this quickly put me back in college radio music director mode. I skim everything quick, listen for hooks I can use for segues with the records I know well, and note which songs I think the other DJs will dig. But ultimately, this is one of those records that, aside from a couple good opening tracks, gets forgettable quickly, and would soon get lost in the new pile in the DJ booth.


Thrill Jockey

Sea From Shore opens strong with "Rockist Parts 1," a disjointed pop song built around a loop of vocalized vowel sounds and "Rockist Part 2," a reprise that breaks the song apart even more into a no-wave, dub-plate version, spacing out the arrangement and exploring the sonics of all the instruments. Add a loud and blown-out drum sound played like the ghost of John Bonham, and this album's got a catchy and sonically intriguing start. Being from England, School of Language looks like they found a niche in Chicago's avant-rock scene. It is too bad then, that the rest album quickly drifts into rote, cliché indie rock after track two.

The main body of the disc takes cues from tired '70s classic rock radio. Songs like the ballad "Keep Your Water" sound like a cross between late-'70s Pink Floyd and aforementioned Led Zeppelin. Aside from excellent production (I am stuck on this drum sound), this album drifts along bland soft-rock pretensions.

So much of this album is contrived and generic that I can't see it being more than dollar bin fodder. School of Language sits well with the current scene of "smart" pop bands, like Broken Social Scene and label-mates Firey Furnaces, but lacks the sincerity and spirit that has given these other bands so much staying power.



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