Artist: Parts and Labor
Comments: I tried really hard to love Receivers, the latest from Parts and Labor. I read all the blogs hyping them as a band to watch in '09. I listened to the album for weeks, hoping for something to spark and grab me. I spent hours looking for angles to expand into stories. After weeks of trying, I just have to realize what's been in the back of my head this whole time: Receivers is not great, its just OK.
It's a damn shame I can't drum up more to say about it. Parts and Labor have an interesting sound. They make indie rock heavy on keyboards and synthesized sounds with as little guitar as possible. Their sound combines the ascetic of Wolf Parade with the collective mentality of Akron/Family and the European hilly feel of Big Country, one of the least appreciated bands of all time. Basically, this band makes assessable fuzzy noise rock and that shit is right in my wheelhouse.
And yet, nothing sticks. Sure, the seven minute fuzz out of "Satellites" makes for a compelling listen, and the mountain stomp of "Wedding In a Waste Land" is top notch thumpin' music reminiscent of a hipster version of The Who. Sure, the smaller scaled tracks like "Nowheres High" and "Little Ones" are charming numbers that use the band's noisy buzz to create a warm listening experience. But for some reason, it isn't enough.
Maybe the songs take too long to get to the payoff (cough, "Satellites" cough), languish too long in their own noisy self indulgence without ever making it worth it to the listener, noise for noise sake. Maybe its the sometimes jarring voice of the lead singers, almost painful on "Mount Misery." Maybe there's just too much flash and not enough substance.
I still like Parts and Labor, and I like Receivers. I'll get their next album as soon as its out. I do hope they become an "it" band in '09, and I wish them nothing but the best. But I can't pretend to love Receivers any more. Too much of it just leaves me wanting.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Key Tracks: Satellites, Wedding in a Waste Land
Buy, Steal, Skip: Steal
(Listen to Big Country, goddamnit!)