Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Top Ten of 2007: Meet Me in St. Louis - Variations on Swing

obviously, i dwell in music that takes itself to seriously. Meet Me in St. Louis, while serious do seem to have their own share of fun while playing their music. this in other words makes 'Variations on Swing' an anomaly in my favorite releases of this year solely based on how abstractly enjoyable it is. to me, this is how all pop music should sound. a series of microcosms inside a larger piece that is constantly progressing into something more and more. the range of influences that seem to become apparent on the first listen of this record range from pop-punk to glitchy electronica, not bad for a now instrumental quintet that seemingly popped up from nowhere. if you want similar artists, these guys sound like someone accidentally played the 33rpm 'Menos El Oso' at 45. they have their moments of lucidity, but mostly this is kind of embracing that whole idea of louder is better that currently is plaguing the recording industry. think of it as an underground Say Anything without the irony. there's humor here, but its not self realization in the form Max Bemis seems to embrace.

meet me in st. louis
in basic terms, 'Variations on Swing' instrumentally is the record At the Drive-in's 'Relationship of Command' should have been. highly technical, obtuse arrangements that easily transpose themselves into gloriously anthematic sections. heavy on riffing, but also heavy on a variety of other guitar techniques the two guitarists in this group aren't necessarily evoking Omar of ATDI but rather weaving their way through a quilt of Tera Melos, Million Dead, and Maps and Atlases. rhythm section of course effortlessly accents all of the gorgeous tones that the other two players are cascading over the forty five minutes of this record. Toby, the vocalist (now former) is the obvious anomaly (sorry for using that word again) in that his technique is kind of flawed, and his ability pales in comparison to the rest of his band mates. sort of a Tim Kasher of math rock, his lyrics echo that early Kinsella feel of nonsensical personal allusions. simply to declare this band as a derivative of their influence though would be a complete case of discredit.

meet me in st. louis's 'variations on swing'
what terms does this record hold in my year? car drives, easy listening, wanting something simple. certainly, some people won't find this record as easy to listen to as i do. in a sense it represents everything poppy about post-hardcore pushed to the very brink. of course, Hawthorne Heights already did that, so why even bring up 'Variations on Swing'? i guess just so i can act like i know a bunch of really unknown artists.

meet me in st. louis - variations on swing (2007)

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