A Different Kind of Listening CD
(Rating: 2 out of 5)
A Different Kind of Listening kicks off with the beat style of Kid A and languishes inward with subtle guitar lines. For a minute and a half you think that you're getting in to something different, something that might be a little more adventurous than the rest of the indie world.
But then "Silver Alien Pyjamas in II Movements" (or the second song) breaks into an obvious Tortoise vibe and leaves you wondering, "Did I just step into the ring with a second-rate Tortoise? Because if I did..." But the song backs off into a simple bass, guitar and drum piece that really isn't that great.
To add as much possible confusion to this CD, The National Blue then opens a can of angular guitar rock for the rest of the album. I've rarely heard a band that's this varied in styles and in need of finding a voice; I really hope they don't go folk-ska on us. The album meanders through 60 more minutes of angular space-rock with vocals that hit like a ping-pong ball. Short staccato spoken words lead the attack and leave much to be desired. They also have a hard time deciding whether they want to play their instruments or tag on a few vocal lines. The sad thing is, the album has promise. Each song starts out sounding great but they all morph into different time signatures, tempos, keys, and melodies. It's as if these guys aren't confident enough to finish a song without throwing in the kitchen sink of style, trying to hodgepodge together their collection of Tortoise, Pele and Godspeed albums with their Fugazi, Bluetip and Jawbox records. It just doesnít mix.
These guys spent a lot of time putting these songs together (or maybe they didn't and thatís why it sounds so odd) so we should give them credit for trying. But outside of trying, they get nothing but a swift kick in the ass and a stern warning to stick with one damn style of music.