Monday 28 May 2012

One Era - We Repeat

Album review by KevW

The intention of this debut album by One Era, a musical project helmed by Philadelphia resident Matt Coogan, is to interpret and re-interpret musical sounds past, present and future, experiencing sound in a new way thanks to modern techniques. It's a very grand mission statement, but as a general rule of thumb, such proclamations on a press release usually mean you're in for a load of nondescript electronic noodling and wafty ambient soundscapes, the likes of which you've been bored to tears by countless times in the past. So it's a relief to find that 'We Repeat' is nothing of the sort, instead being a welcoming set of somewhat more conventional alt-pop tracks.

Quite where the innovation or experimentation lies isn't clear, and not being involved in the album's conception or construction it may be unfair to speculate on those aspects, but in terms of sound there's little to be found that hasn't been done before. That's not to deride the album, it's very good, but the overview and the end product might be one for the trade descriptions act people to look in to. As for the music, 'We Repeat' is consistent in quality and well thought out, essentially a batch of electro-pop tracks that hover around the three or four minute mark. In many ways this feels like an modern disco record, certainly tracks like 'Again & Again', 'Nothing Gets To Me' and 'The Ocean' fit that description like a glove - probably one of Michael Jackson's glittery ones.

It's not all four-to-the-floor party tunes though, in fact the album's best moment comes with the lush, shimmering 'It Only Happens One Time' which is built around a more conventional band format of guitars and drums, and the rather nice 'You're Leaving Alone' uses the same ingredients. Synth-pop gets a good airing too, 'No Begging' and the like have cowbells and they're not afraid to use them, and the scent of Air's early retro-futurist sounds hangs heavily over much of the album. Ignore any blurb, 'We Repeat', however it was made, is an album to be listened to, not studied and dissected. So if you're after some decent but accessible pop tracks with a smooth and easy finish then step right this way.

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