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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).

Mode 7
Night Echoes (CD)

West Virginia's Magnanimous Records continues to impress with their special brand of unusual ambient experimentalism. Much of the stuff from the label ain't for your "average" indiepop lovin' ear, but that's fine and dandy with us. You just gotta be in the right mood to get into it sometimes. This latest CD we got by Mode 7 entitled Night Echoes starts off with "2:28" (the songs are all untitled instrumentals named only by their running lengths) which employs a simply cavernous reverb to bathe snare-driven drums and simmering, spacey guitar. The tempo is mostly laid back, which is something I sort of enjoyed... a lot of instrumental bands tend toward the beat-driven, like Tortoise. That isn't a bad thing, but I tend to dig these relaxed "thought-instrumentals" more than the drum machine driven ones. Some parts of the songs reminded me of the Autumns (minus the singing of course) or Yo La Tengo's moodier jams, with a bit of Album Leaf/Tristeza thrown in there for good measure. I also dig the restrained use of keyboard sounds... instead of trying to upstage the songs, the little synth quips like those on "5:05" act more like tantalization for the taste buds. The bass is pretty thoughtful, and similarly conscious of its place in musical space.

Although this is definitely the type of album jam you'd put on late at night as more of a mood setter, I really like the fact that it has that post-rock modern feel and doesn't tend toward the standard "you take a solo, i take a solo" methodology that haunts blues-rock jam travesties. We get a lot of those experiments for some reason and I really hate those type of jams. But the majestic experiments that Mode 7 oozes out prove to be as rich and decadent as apple pie a la mode at a slow late night diner. Order up... and take your time.

- review by SHORTY (2.9.05)        

Magnanimous Records
P.O. Box 541
Shepherdstown, WV 25443

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