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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).

Interoffice Romance
Future Banquet Facilities (CD-R)

Since I needed to visit the Splendid site anyhow to snag the picture for this disc (scanner's on the fritz), I decided to read the review they put up on Interoffice Romance's disc. Though the reviewer ended on the positive note (and similar one that I often do, basically "go check it out for yourself since it's available for free download), he thought the album was a a bit of a downer.

I didn't think it was a downer at all, though perhaps the songs are a bit angsty and moody. In style, there are country-rock touches but the band is going for more a full pop arrangement rather than stripped down bare music. I think this is a wise choice, for while singer Brian Strazek attacks the lyrics with a confident presence, the times when he's left all alone and the band quiets down feel like the most dangerous as far as the band losing fans. His wobbly voice benefits much from doubletracking and a perfect example is on Fuseloge where nice soaring choruses are strong contrast to the near derailment of the earlier bare voice intro.

If you move beyond the sometimes distracting "character" in his voice, the songs can be quite beautiful. The slow grandeur porch folk of "Rabbit Show" is what got the disc past the initial checkpoint that often leads to a trip to the circular file. The bandmates who play with him sometimes remind of Norfolk and Western and sometimes of a band I've been getting into called Dios Malos.

"Robusto" does remind me of a slower Dino Jr. plus maybe a bit of Spent. "I've Got More Time" is like My Morning Jacket meets Earlimart. And "The Cotton" bats cleanup on the EP with fine dynamic changes a la Sparklehorse. Some good tunes and times.

- review by SHORTY (9.26.05)        

Viva Recording Co.

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