Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Self Made Soul - 'The Future Belongs to Us'

Slick and efficient, Self Made Soul is the ultimate killing machine, by which I mean their workmanlike full-length The Future Belongs to Us churns out vaguely emo, vaguely alt-rock tunes with grim precision. Passably resembling Emery, Mae, Switchfoot, and other, blander bands, Self Made Soul’s songs are calculated to be as safe as possible. Tunes like “The Real You” aim to rock you right down the middle of the road. While there’s nothing truly awful about the record, The Future Belongs to Us is so homogenous that I feel really lame crapping out 400 words about it. Here goes:

The production on The Future Belongs to Us is toothless. Drum sounds come off flat and mechanical, while the guitars and vocals sound overcompressed, even artificial in places. Worse, the band doesn’t even have the cajones to end their songs, opting for the occasional slow fadeout. It’s like the worst of ’80s pop all over again. Whenever the band tries to break out of its safe adult alternative cocoon, like on the spontaneously screamo “Your Favorite Hiding Place,” failure abounds.

But hey, give the band credit for sticking to their sound and concept. The 10 songs that constitute The Future Belongs to Us are arranged like a book – tracks one and 10 are the prologue and epilogue, respectively, while the remaining tracks allegedly fill in eight chapters of… I don’t know, love and the human spirit? To sarcastically quote Org reader Tom_Delonge, “It’s a circular narrative in many ways, where it kind of sums up the human race in a time capsule.”

Self Made Soul is a boring band, a modern day wishy washy soft rock quartet for the Warped Tour set. In some ways, that’s worse than if the band was, say, racist or homophobic, or even just annoying. At least then there would be something to react against, whether it be personally, socially, or artistically. As is, The Future Belongs to Us is a great record to listen to if you want to feel nothing. And I don’t mean that in a “my parents don’t understand me/I want to listen to The Cure’s Pornography and watch the sun come up” way. I mean it in the most literal sense: This music will mean nothing to you. It will not inspire joy. It will not inspire hate. It will, however, inspire nothing.

1 comment:

Michael Anderson said...

Review is overly vitrolic and a bit late to the party.
Check out their new EP at for a lesson in humility.