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The Speed Of Not Being Lost

The Speed Of Not Being Lost
(Flaccid Rock Records)

Sometimes when I'm listening to all my bleep bleep bloop music, I simply have to shut it all off and find something in my collection that's a little more simple. Once in awhile, all the DSP and washes of processed sound and hyper-programmed beats and melodies just fry my brain a little bit and I have to get back to the basics. There are my old familiar standby artists like Elliot Smith and the Red House Painters, and there are a whole slew of lesser-known artists that sling a guitar and vocals that I just have to fall back to once in awhile.

Although Architecture has a name that sounds vaguely electronic, and although their label is somewhat unfortunately titled, they make music that eases my sometimes over-digital mind. While they don't have a lot in common with the aforementioned artists, there's a simplicity to their music that is refreshing and oftentimes quite stunning. If I could compare them to any artist, I'd say that have a fair amount in common with earlier Pedro The Lion, but even that's pushing it a smidge. The release opens with what might be the best two tracks on the release. "Daylight Savings" jangles along steadily while singer Kirk Pratt adds his nicely unpolished vocals.

"Stopping Traffic" fairs even better, opening with acoustic guitar before building with oboe and shortwave radio-static and strings into a lovely mini-orchestral swell. There are even a couple nice instrumental tracks like "Hand-eye," perhaps giving away the fact that the group wrote vocal-less songs when they were first starting out. Perhaps as a nod to the label that they're on, the group is in fact best when they're not rocking out. "Sabbatical" turns up the volume and mixes in piano and feedbacked guitars, but the track pales in comparison to the more subtle "Odds Are" (in which violin by Megan Weeder again adds another beautiful layer). The two-part closer of "And So On" starts out in power-pop mode with crunchy guitars and overbearing vocals, but shifts into a nice little singalong filled with handclaps and more subtle reverbed guitars that closes out the album nicely. If you enjoy melodic indie-pop that isn't afraid to turn things down a bit, The Speed Of Not Being Lost is a nice little release for those days when you're feeling too much like an android.

Rating: 7