Appliance, Manual (Mute)

Posted December 31st, 1998 by admin · No Comments

By: Eric G.

I had unattainable expectations for this album because of the quote pasted on the advance copy, which reads as follows: [“The last time I heard an album this innovative and exciting from a new band was when Joy Division released the magnificent Transmission.” -London Times]. So after I got over the initial letdown, I was able to listen to this album without preconceived notions. It’s just a notch above mediocre- sort of like a tame version of the last Girls vs. Boys album. Lots of effects versus minimal playing is the soup du jour for Appliance. The songs build and build but never kick in or climax or anything. They just sort of meander for a while, tighten the slack, and then nothing. Fade out.

The vocals are cool and low, but the lyrics leave much to be desired- hardly on par with Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. These guys are too controlled and contrived for their own good. The best song is “Food Music” with its post-modern groove and one of the few justifiable uses of a wah wah pedal I’ve ever heard. The album is also bogged down by too many intsrumentals that don’t have enough going on. Some of the tones and textures are cool, especially on “Throwing A Curve Ball”, but it’s all too casual and relaxed. “Aquaplane” isn’t bad either with its hypnotic flow, but it needs more tension. You can tell this band has what it takes to make a good record, but this is not it.

Tags: review