The Remote Viewer
Let Your Heart Draw A Line
City Centre Offices
ith a laundry list of musical associations to their name, it’s hard to say where the duo of Remote Viewer haven’t been. As part of Hood, they nudged the group closer towards the electronic, as part of The Famous Boyfriend, the group tested out the sound that would come to typify this current project, and as the musical brains behind The Boats, the group crafted one of 2004’s overlooked gems. Let Your Heart Draw A Line sees them coming home to their more prolific moniker, one that has produced some of their best work over three previous outings.
This one finds the group in a more coherent place. You’re Going To Love Our Defeatist Attitude saw the group disjointed and seemingly unsure of themselves. Tracks, at times, seemed to ramble without plot or reason. Quite simply, it sounded like some of the more generic music that comes out in this particular strain of mostly German acoustic/electronic music: boring and aimless. But, when you’re mining that particular strain of English mood that Hood and others have pounded into the public’s consciousness so effortlessly, there’s a fine line between aimless and effecting. Luckily, The Remote Viewer have mostly ended up on the right side this time.
Much of this success can probably be owed to the hushed vocals that haunt many of the tracks here. “Sometimes, You Can’t Decide”’s music-box melody owes its creepiness entirely to these half-remembered moments. Impressionism is the key here obviously. Each lyric is drawn up to be as broad and as suffused with feel, rather than meaning, as possible. And much like the pastoral pop of The Clientele, it works beautifully, like in the moaning eight-minute epic “Kindtransport.”
The music helps. If you’ve heard the Remote Viewer before, you’ll know almost exactly what to expect: the tiny acoustic guitars (“How Did You Both…”), the microsound clicks (“To Completion”), the muffled piano (“Take Your Lights…”). But, as said before, it’s a fine line with music as small and as fragile as this. The fragility is what gives it its power—a power wielded in much the same way by acts like Colleen or Ulf Lohmann. But whereas most others seem to revel in contrasts or in tension, The Remote Viewer’s rarely contains any—instead opting for diminution of scale. As pleasant as a daydream, Let Your Heart Draw A Line sometimes goes down as another innocuous City Centre Office releases. It’s when it doesn’t give into such easy impulses that it truly shines.
Reviewed by: Charles Merwin
Reviewed on: 2005-04-22