Thursday, September 07, 2006

Album Review: James Figurine - Mistake, Mistake, Mistake, Mistake

First things first: If you were looking forward to Jimmy Tamborello's new album because he was one-half of the Postal Service, and you COMPLETELY LOVED Give Up (in which he teamed up with Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie), then don't bother with this album.

Glad we cleared that up.

To the rest of you, who have also enjoyed Tamborello's other projects (or side projects? There are so many, I can't tell which ones are the main ones anymore) such as Dntel and Headphones, Mistake, Mistake, Mistake, Mistake is a mixed bag. From the press release, "James Figurine" (as he is now referring to himself) talks about how a few years ago he developed a love for minimalist techno whilst in Germany, primarily because he was stuck in a car with it on for an extended period of time. Oh dear. It seems Tamborello was taken hostage by minimalist (read - boring) techno, and experienced something akin to stockholm syndrome - but with music.

Essentially, the feeling you get when listening to the album, is that with Mistake... Tamborello simply tried to make an album in a genre which he 'kinda dug for a while'. The listener hears moments of brilliance among the mediocrity - such as the track "leftovers" - where we can hear Tamborello tyring to repress his Postal Service-style era and stay within this self-imposed ideal. What results is extended periods od glitchy electronica minus any hooks or harmonies that keep you coming back for more.

In the album's accompanying press release, Tamborello said that the album "was supposed to be an extra melodic, minimal techno record with some sparse vocals". Sparse is the keyword here, and this time without the help of indie wunderkind Gibbard, has instead drafted a list of singers including Jenny Lewis (Postal Service, Rilo Kiley), and the other indie white-boy, Erlend Øye (Kings of Convenience, part-time vocalist in Röyksopp).

Unfortunately, none of the vocalists (including Tamborello himself) are able to really add anything memorable to the songs, instead exuding the sound of an old sampler that is just too, too tired to do all of this again.

No comments: