Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Double / Loose in the Air / Rating 7.4

bubble through like transmissions from a bad satellite feed


One of my favorite things to do is sit around with a friend, throw back a few drinks (or many) and have them play me their favorite records; old or new… it doesn’t matter.

You don’t have to tell me….I can’t tell you enough how record nerd I really am.

I will spare you the name dropping but 6 months ago a friend that happens to be in one those bands that sounds a little (ok a lot) like Joy Division and I started and finished a bottle of Jameson while listening to his laptop’s random selection of music. At the end of the night I had taken a few mental notes: buy anything Arthur Russel, look forward to the next CocoRosie release (yeah the one PFM panned), The Double will have something great out on Matador, and oh… the next time I say I can drink a bottle of whiskey, I shouldn’t actually do it.

Perhaps it was the after affects of spending time with an old friend who has impeccable taste in music but I had high hopes for The Double cd. The first time I listened to Loose in the Air all the way through I found myself questioning if this was the same band I had listened to and liked so much before. Maybe I should blame the whiskey?

“Up all Night” kicks off the record with several jarring flat notes from David Greenhill but the music was just as good as I remembered it to be: Occasionally stark, undeniably dark, and its winning attribution is the cycle of slow builds leading grenade pulls of guitars, drums, and keyboards returning fire. This song must hit like bullets live.

After replaying “Idiocy” “Icy” and “On our Way” I felt back on track. I do like this band. I like the clumsy chugging imperfections, the merry-go round organ tone thru a Memory Man and God knows what else (not the typical garage rock keys). I love the expert temper tantrum guitar fits. I love the not exactly sleepy but hazy Nyquil infused crooning. Most of all I love the drummer who doesn’t play all over everything and is one part Animal (Muppet Show) and one part jazz drummer extraordinaire Art Blakey. The band as a unit leaves Swiss cheese holes where few bands dare to use it, no less appropriately. Sometimes and in this case, less is more.

I hadn’t seen the band play before so when I started this review I couldn’t say if Loose In The Air does their live set justice. Thanks to an in-store at Relative Theory (and a two hour drive to get there thank you very much) I could answer my question and part two of this ramble came to be.


The Double are better live. No reason to mince words. They are 10 thousand times more sonic and are the closest I am ever going to come to standing near an erupting volcano with a man trapped inside begging to get out. Their performace practically canceled out the value of the cd to me but I liked them so much live that I wouldn’t dare part with their cd, even if it pales in comparison. “ Up All Night” was so utterly vicious live that I would recommend wearing a bullet proof vest if you go to see them play. (And you should go to see them play.)

Initially I thought I was going to pan this record but all the little flaws, the occasional bad notes, (forgive my reference to the title but) the loose in the air approach to rock, is what I actually like the most. These days it’s easy to fix all the mistakes a band makes in a studio and by technical standards create the perfect record (Song writing aside) so I find it refreshing when a band stays true to their live sound, the one where humans who aren’t always perfect and flawless make a little racket. While it doesn’t match the superior performance I saw in person I believe that in theory The Double approached this new record with the idea of keeping it live AKA with imperfections and all.

Most artists will tell you the overall mood and feeling of a song is more important than any right note or drum fill but does this excuse the often-limp final product found on Loose in the Air? I guess that all depends on how understanding you the listener are willing to be. (Coolfer: I look forward to your volley here.Winks)


The Double make a handsome racket and if it weren’t for the second half of their record dragging its feet (and now knowing they can be better live), I would have given this record a much higher rating than PFM’s 7.4.

Be sure to see them play (I promise you, a full body assault has never sounded so good) and consider yourself warned: their recordings are a circus mirror of their sound live.