[Friend or Faux; 2009]
After giving Magnetic Morning's inauspicious debut EP a thorough savaging, this site's Nitsuh Abebe allows for a little bit of optimism near the end of his review, positing that "maybe they have the makings of a decent album tucked away somewhere." Given the pedigree of the two more notable names involved-- in case you missed it, former/current Swervedriver Adam Franklin and Interpol backseat steady-at-the-wheel driver Sam Fogarino (now joined by the Album Leaf's Jimmy Lavalle, among others)-- one would hope something good would come from their Wonder Twins powers activating. What's offered on A.M. (just released on CD and LP after being available digitally since last fall), however, is a more elaborate reiteration of what the group, as a duo, presented on its debut. The extra wiggle room gives Magnetic Morning more space to state their case, but it's doubtful anyone's mind will be changed by what's available here.
For those who hoped freeing Fogarino from his day job's mid-tempo morass and hooking him up with the guitar hero of 90s Britrock (non-Shields division), will result in volatile, invigorating rock, there's slim pickings. In that vein there's the "Roadrunner"-checking "Motorway" (which features a fair amount of MBVish whammy bar abuse), and the epic fuzzy thud of "And I Wonder". The rest of the album takes a more stately and baroque turn. In case you haven't gotten the memo, Franklin uses a measured cover of the Shangri-Las' "Out in the Streets" to make it clear-- "he don't do the wild things that he did before." At least, he doesn't when he's not out on a reunion tour. This means, instead of more tunes like "Motorway", listeners get subdued tracks with extra helpings of clavinet and mellotron (like "Indian Summer"), songs on which Franklin makes like a slowhanded shoegazer ("At a Crossroads, Passive"), or a trip-hopping track that sounds like an outtake from a second-generation shoegazing conglomerate like Doves ("Come Back"). And it also means Franklin continues to smother his smoky charisma within the mix. More often than fans of his voice might like, he's content to let his guitar do the talking, leaving his voice to murmur sweet nothings in the background as the music glitters and shimmers around him.
Thanfully, the album's not a completely dour and listless affair. With Fogarino, the group has a drummer who's at once both laid-back and assertive, someone that can ground and propel these songs without overwhelming or being overwhelmed by what's happening around him. Filling out the group with more players is a definite boon, and there are enough bells and whistles on these tunes to help them stand out from each other and give A.M. some distinguishing textures (something lacking from the group's initial five-song bow). Still, there's that unmistakable "side project" air surrounding this record, the sense that this is just an enjoyable way to wile away time during hiatuses in other endeavors. It's enjoyable enough in that regard, but there's enough here (especially when they cut loose) to make me wonder what would happen if this turned from a pleasant distraction into Franklin and Fogarino's main gig.
- David Raposa, January 30, 2009
"It's enjoyable enough in that regard, but there's enough here (especially when they cut loose) to make me wonder what would happen if this turned from a pleasant distraction into Franklin and Fogarino's main gig."
Stop giving these two ideas Raposa! :lol:
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Pitchforkmedia's "A.M." Review Stumbled upon Pitchfork's review this morning
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