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Next We Bring You the Fire

(Carpark; US: 22 Sep 2009; UK: Import)

Get your tweeters ready, people because Signer (a.k.a. Bevan Smith) has somehow made an electronic pop album that avoids bass almost entirely. Sure, there are bass drum hits in that electronic, low-pitched pulse sort of way, but it’s almost shocking how much high-end synth noise Smith adds to his latest release, Next We Bring You the Fire. Despite its almost confrontational title, Next We Bring You the Fire is a passive little thing: Eight tracks of quiet vocals and ambient soundscapes combine over minimal, skittery beats that seem to come and go as they please. There’s not a catchy melody to be found, though it seems that such a statement is less of a criticism for an album like this that’s more focused on the mood and feel of the whole. To the album’s detriment, however, is its best song: “Don’t Be a Forest Cow”. It totally outshines and breaks the feel of the rest of the disc by showing us how fantastic a beat Smith can put together when he puts away his contemplative, artsy shoes and puts on the ones for dancing. Once you hear “Don’t Be a Forest Cow”, everything else may as well be wallpaper—pretty, shiny wallpaper, sure, but wallpaper nonetheless.


Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.

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