Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

We Sing the Body Electric Misses a Few Notes

April 6, 2009

I was a bit let down by the Lonely Forest’s We Sing the Body Electric – I expected great things from the first hard-hitting notes of “Two Pink Pills.” While the The Lonely Forest is capable of some intricate musicality and occasionally setting a mood that is uniquely theirs,  the album suffers from two things: sameness from song to song and a very annoying voice.

Though I don’t like to admit it, I can barely stand the voice of the lead singer, who sounds like Kermit the Frog. I would hate it if someone said I sounded like Kermit the Frog, but I found it really hard to enjoy the music past the first few songs when I felt like I was being sung to by a Muppet. While this closed-off throat sound and self-deprecating style is still fashionable for up-and-coming bands, it’s going to sound really dated ten years from now.

But for some positive things: The Lonely Forest is usually capable of coming up with some unique moods that might suffice for someone looking for something out of the way. Most songs are not too varied, but there is a moment of what I would almost call “sheer brilliance.”

The highlight of the album for me is “Tomato Soup,” an original piano-based song that is deceptively simple. I like this simplicity; it shows the band’s softer side, and here the band finds a sound that really works. “Tomato Soup” is almost ballad-like, and I like this song much better than their straight-ahead pop/rock songs, which seem to try too hard to be like Death Cab for Cutie.

Another ballad-like song, “Julia,” is also pretty good. Overall, the band is stronger on their down tempo tracks that happen to feature piano.

I didn’t really enjoy the Lonely Forest’s We Sing the Body Electric. It does have its moments, but consistently, the songs are just pale imitations of bands that are better them. Combined with a grating voice and songs that seem to sound the same from one to the next, it was hard to listen to at times. I would reccommend the magnificent “Tomato Soup” and “Julia,” but I would pass on the album.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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