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.
// Notes from the Road
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