Sunday, October 02, 2005

Mazarin / We're Already There / Rating 8.0

older than God's big toe

“If Caribou is electro pretending to be indie rock, then Mazarin is its inverted reflection, and James Mercer is holding the mirror: We're Already There just might change Natalie Portman's life.” PFM

Don’t get your hopes up. Mazarin isn’t that good but then again neither was the movie Garden State. Caribou is to penthouse suite as Mazarin is to 5 story walk up.

“Yep, this is a big record, not quite over the top, but definitely peeking over the rim. The crisp, programmed drums bend Mazarin's sun-kissed guitar pop toward the Postal Service side of things, and those lustrous tintinnabulations ringing through the melodies?” PFM

Postal Service lives in an entirely different country than the style and sounds found on this record. The modern world of recording technology and pedals has altered the trademark shoegazer profile but traces of that classic dreamy fuzzy coiled colorful lollipop of melody is still there. If you make it past the first track, the rest of the songs feature an actual drummer so the tired Postal Service reference makes even less sense in this context. They both feature male vocals singing in English. I guess that is something they both have in common. For those of you who didn’t start listening to electronic infused rock a few years ago my guess is you will hear something closer to the Flaming Lips on “The New American Apathy”.

I also spoke to a few old pseudo-members / friends of Mazarin about the Postal Service comment in the PFM review and they both practically choked with laughter and bewilderment.

“For real, it's hard to find a track on this record that isn't at once impressive in its craft and deeply lovable on a sensual level; you don't even need to skip around to sing its virtues, you can just go down the track list in order.” PFM

No matter what order I play this in I still can’t find the mega hook… the thing that captures me and reels me in for good. There is talent all over these tracks; well-executed nice guy psych pop ala Rain Parade or for moments Guided By Voices, but basic pop is where this rests with me. There are some good songs, 4 out of 11 to be exact but with a ratio like that I certainly wouldn’t deem this two steps away from a perfect PFM 10.

“So while Mazarin might be too late to break bread with like-minded retro-popists from the future like Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel, they remember their lessons, from their unaccountable fondness for paisley to their Poundian directive to take old pop and "make it new." PFM

Mazarin has been a band for 6 years (1999) so I can’t exactly call them a new band breaking into the scene. If “We’re there Already” is old pop turned new again then this is me trying my hardest not to yawn. This isn’t new, not even close.

And oh look, another Neutral Milk Hotel reference.
Nope, nothing new here at all.