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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Lost On Purpose
The Ultraviolet Effect (CD EP)

Back in the somewhat sweltering nights of August 04, the Shmat had the opportunity to witness the full force of Lost on Purpose as they barrelled through a set of raucous and powerful indie rock songs at Shmatfest #2. Having known them only through the lo-fi conceptual melancholy of "Rising Wildfires" and other collections, it was a surprise to hear Wil Holland and Co. (company now includes Denton Clayton on bass and Jody Abbott on drums) full of such bluster and fire as they played the loudest set of the night.

So it was with minor trepidation that the Shmat fed their latest EP The Ultraviolet Effect into his CD player thingy. He certainly expected the boys (who the Shmat might add caused some hearts to flutter amongst the ladies at the Fest) to cause fire to come flaring out of his speakers. But it actually turns out that their latest disc takes many of its cues from the earlier releases in being more indie folk than rock. What is cool is that there exists a folky LOP on CD and a live LOP that can rock out. Like the wiggly chameleon, they are able to change their acoustic colors based on the situation that demands it. Fun!

These fine, homespun acoustic meditations are to be commended for their tuneful nature as well as their insistence on a different kind of bedroom rock. Shmat has always said that he might one day find a band that would make him tolerant of the whole Emoh thing (yes, you'll be hearing about Barlow's "Emoh" soon enough). And while he still a paw 'n paddle short when it comes to sailing the emo seas, he thinks that Lost On Purpose comes close enough to being a band that makes emo an acceptable word again. Sure, the songs are emotive but much of the difference is in Wil's song structures which are based on patterns of repetition and layered orchestration rather than hokey chord changes for cheap effect. "Right On" is lush with harmonies that recall Brian Wilson rather than Bright Eyes. After experiencing the extremely loud version at the Shmatfest, it was interesting to hear the insistent, near-dangerous lyrics of "Seasons" which seems to channel whispery Elliott Smith from beyond the grave. This song made the Shmat uneasy and yet he felt a certain thrill putting the track on repeat; sort of like a dangerous friend who you just can't stop hanging out with.

Pretty xylophone bells form delicious accents on "One, Two, Three, Four", which takes a simple acoustic arpeggio and livens it up with many instances of Wil forming what is almost a cool LOP choir. The last song "A.Y.E" could be ghostly Leonard Cohen walking the streets at four in the morning, the end of December. A simple, heartbreakingly beautiful track that recalls some of Smith's Figure 8 work and perhaps the more orchestral Badly Drawn Boy stuff. This was the Shmat's favorite track and a perfect way to close out the EP.

- review by SHMAT (1.18.05)        

Lost On Purpose
4443 Kingswell Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

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