Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shuteye Unison - 'Our Future Selves'

Recalling Silversun Pickups, the Jealous Sound and maybe even a dash of Sonic Youth circa Daydream Nation, San Francisco, Calif.’s Shuteye Unison has crafted a record at once expansive and catchy. Our Future Selves deals in ambience and mood, and while the lengthy song structures might be a turnoff for some, generally the record succeeds in crafting a dreamy soundscape. This is quality 3 a.m. music.

Initially, opener “Be Kimball” comes off as misleading. The track begins with a muscular guitar line, driving bass and thundering drums. It certainly makes sense as an opening number – those handclaps and snarling guitary bits are infectious – but the tune starts to shift around the two-and-a-half-minute mark. Shimmering piano transforms the song into something more ethereal, which better represents that album as a whole.

Shuteye Unison certainly has grander aspirations, as evidenced by all the auxiliary percussion and children’s choirs, but the group tempers those ideas with white noise, resulting in a “something for everyone” approach.” Still, it’s hard to call a song like “Our Future Selves” uncommercial. That track fits nicely into the SSPU mold a la “Little Lover’s So Polite” with mid-tempo rhythms and soft melodies.

The rest of the album gently follows a quiet/loud dynamic that’s much more subtle compared to, say, Mogwai. The shifts almost sneak up on the listener. One moment you’re rocking out to “Better Hallway Vision,” the next you’re tripping balls on “Swear Words.” Our Future Selves could at times use more bite and focus, but at only 46 minutes it couldn’t be called self-indulgent. Plus, the record strikes a nice compromise between melody and noise, structure and mood.

No comments: