You Are the Sames
Pox World Empire
'm bored. It's not really the music's fault. The Sames aren't bad, per se; it's just that they're so well-titled.
And they've reduced me to five "to be" verbs in four sentences, and they've given me a too-easy wordplay that's bound
Which is kind of what this album does. If you've never listened to the clean, direct kind of indie-rock that the North Carolina scene's been producing since at least the rise of Superchunk and related parties, you'd probably be hooked by this debut of aggressive guitars and energized drums. You Are the Sames (troubling title and all) sounds good, and I might play it at some point after I finish writing this review. But if I do so, it'll only happen because I feel like grabbing a seldom-spun disc rather than listening yet again to an old stand-by.
The album does contain moments of genuinely enjoyable originality. The group experiments a little with structure on "Honorary Wilmingtonian," sounding more like Pavement torch-receivers than like part-of-a-crowds. In its two minutes, "Like a Song (Really)" builds quickly from lonely hipster mumble to catchy rock-choir heights. And don't forget the album's highlight, "Hate the Ocean," which, while pretty traditional, weaves a strong lead guitar part through an intense, clean electric strum. The song dissolves into noisy sound that never loses the groove before a return to the lo-fi basics amplified by a memorable chorus.
Those moments make me feel like criticizing the Sames hurts me more than it does them.
But it doesn't, because it doesn't really reflect on me (for the most part), and I'm not invested in this album. And that's their fault. If you want me to care, then you should make me care. I hear enough records in a year that you need to draw me in. You've got three memorable songs and ten decent-but-forgettable ones. Why am I supposed to remember you, the Sames?
I'm not being mean: I haven't even mentioned the lines "Can you believe / This song will be the death of me?" from the over-long closer "Snake." I'm letting it go completely.
The album does contain moments of genuinely enjoyable originality. The group experiments a little with structure on "Honorary Wilmingtonian," sounding more like ... oh, wait ... that's me repeating myself. So, instead: Success is the reward for hitting the mark and the mark is usually hit because it’s fat and well-worn, clear and obvious and sates a cultivated, manufactured hunger ... wait ... now that's me repeating something one of my predecessors said that I wish I had said first (but I'll stand by the repetition because it's still good and relevant right this second).
I'm out of ideas, but I hope you'll keep reading me. Maybe next time I'll do a better job striking out on my own.