The Child Who Was a Keyhole
In the Faxed Atmosphere

Eden's Watchtower

he largely painful pseudo-psychedelic whimsy of The Child Who Was a Keyhole is the product of two married couples from Salt Lake City who have taken their love of twee melodies, garage aesthetics, and each other (guy/girl, respectively) and with it produced a pretty rotten album. Sloppy, silly, discordant and without much in the way of memorable tunes or mind-expanding sounds (and no, the singing saw doesn’t count), In the Faxed Atmosphere ends up blowing the majority of its skewed creativity on the band’s lengthy moniker and the album’s title.

The mish-mash of bloated fonts announcing numbers such as “Through the Middle of a Tree” or “Seeking Cloud Shrimp on the Shortwave” plus the DIY cut and paste weirdness of the artwork had me expecting something of what was to transpire, but I held on to the possibility that the music would transcend its self-consciously “psychedelic” packaging. Oh well, I only have to listen to this for as long as it takes to crap out this review, then it’s back to driving nails into my skull or something equally preferable to parsing this brand of sub- sub-Olivia Tremor Control type merry noisemaking.

“We Were Alone (In the Forest of Trains)” would be a good place to start the teardown and rebuilding of the Keyhole if, for instance, some mysterious virus rendered every other human incapable of forming a band. With ragged, distorted verses set off by spacious choruses as the harsh guitars are nudged aside by a twinkling synth, it actually makes the ugly/pretty combination (which may or may not be intentional) work. At 1:51, it doesn’t necessarily leave you wanting more, but it does at least provide a brief, hopeful respite.

It’s an otherwise grim ride. In the Faxed Atmosphere features some near misses (“Making Sense” and the title track) but much more in the way of the unbearable (“You Ruined My Baby”, “Knees High, Arms Low”, etc.), unpleasant instruments paired with shrill vocals and half-baked hooks. They sound like they’re having fun, a loose and contented group of young lovers, but it doesn’t translate.

If the sour effect of The Child Who Was A Keyhole (repeat the name often enough and your review is half written!) is a result of inexperience, then maybe In the Faxed Atmosphere can represent a shaky start, one to be learned from and overcome. If it’s a conscious choice however, then I can only hope it is a dead end.

Reviewed by: Chuck Zak

Reviewed on: 2005-01-13

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