We’re Already There
I & Ear
t’s interesting that this Philadelphia group is getting a bit of a buzz on this, their first album in four years (third overall). One would imagine that it’s due to the presence of a few very impressive tracks. One in particular, “Another One Goes By,” has got to be one of the most fantastic songs of the year, sounding like some great lost wistful mid-eighties U.K. pop hit. It is a song that “hits the nail squarely on the head,” as they say.
You hear “Another One Goes By” and you’re set to fall in love with this album and the band. For now, though, maybe we’ll just have to settle for being in love with the song. “I’ll See You in the Evening” is probably the second best thing on here and another one that you’d love to hear on alternative rock radio (or just be happy to know that there was a video for it that got shown on MTV2’s Subterranean or that the song got picked to be on The O.C. or something). It’s very nice; I think it cuts the singles from the last Modest Mouse album, for example. “The New American Apathy” sounds like a good Postal Service track (though less fey) and would be great to hear on the radio, too.
One element often present on this album is a kind of rambling melodicism that, coupled with bandleader Quentin Stolzfus’ voice, sounds a bit like Neutral Milk Hotel (though the album is sonically bigger than that group and the music not as maudlin). There are times when they transcend this; “For Energy Infinite” has a cool instrumental break and a real hook refrain (with tambourine and backing vocals verging on bubblegum territory). “At 12 to 6” is probably as nicely written as the better tracks on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.
That said, songs like “I’m With You and the Constellations” and “Louise” sound more like Neutral Milk Hotel at their worst. And, even more frightening, the album’s title track sounds like a less tuneful Elf Power. The album also has two instrumentals and, while one is kind of cool sounding, the other is fairly tedious.
A B+, then, for We’re Already There, with seven out of eleven tracks being quite enjoyable. If Stolzfus can come up with an album filled with stuff that’s at the level of “Another One Goes By” next time, however, he’s not only got an A+, he’s probably got one of the best albums of the decade.
Reviewed by: Tim Ellison
Reviewed on: 2005-08-25