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Park Avenue Music

For Your Home or Office

(Mu Nest; US: 6 Sep 2012; UK: 24 Dec 2012)

How’s Your Insomnia?

Zzzzz. Huh? Wha’? Why are you poking me? Oh, I see. I fell asleep listening to this reissue of a 2004 album by husband and wife twitch pop duo Wesley Steed and Jeannette Faith. Yes, For Your Home or Office, the second of three albums released by Park Avenue Music, is certainly a pretty low-key affair that marries light jazz and bedroom pop with the digitally tripped up sophistication of the Postal Service. While the album is often beautiful and ethereal, and is pretty remarkably consistent in approach, it certainly hasn’t aged very well. For one, there’s a song here titled “How’s Your 401k?”, to which you might want to answer, “Haven’t you heard of the fiscal cliff?” And the Postal Service hasn’t released an album in a decade. So this is pretty by the numbers stuff that’s cut from a cloth that isn’t particularly relevant in this day and age. Plus, even the band doesn’t seem to really exist anymore: Steed and Faith are currently involved in a trio project called Hearts+Horses featuring Thomas Monson on drums. So what’s the point? Granted, For Your Home or Office is very pretty, and succeeds when it marries the blissfulness of a gorgeous sunrise to a musical palette, but it also just feels old and dated, and listeners may be left wondering why anyone thought this needed to be brought back into print. What’s more, the glitchiness gets the best of this group at times: “Golden Hummingbird” features electronically slurred female vocals, and then the music actually starts to skip mid-song, which may make you feel as though the digital copy you have is defective in some manner.


What particularly kills For Your Home or Office is the fact that this reissue comes embedded with bonus remixes of just about every song on the album, so you’re essentially getting two versions in one go. Even at originally seven songs, the album felt a tad bit long, so the presence of all this additional stuff just makes the disc feel that much longer. As the record never really reaches past the sounds of bedtime lullabies, you may quickly grow bored with this and .... zzzzz. Oops. Sorry about that. I should add too that the remixes generally don’t sound all that revelatory either. The new cut of “Cutter” brings in some staccato, machine gun fire drum sounds that are clearly lifted from Portishead’s Third. So, overall, For Your Home or Office doesn’t add very much that feels fresh and original, which makes it a bit on the delusory side. The album is also pretty inaccurately titled: This is too laid-back for the cubicle and the only place this would fit in your home is pretty much the bedroom when you’re trying to fall ... zzzzz. God. Sorry, again. (Insert yawn and stretch here). Anyhow, For Your Home or Office is pretty much music for insomniacs, which is a useful utility but not one that really sticks with you in the long run. This should have either just been the proper original 33-minute album or just the remixes. This is just far too overlong to make much of an impact and it’ll basically only lull you to ... zzzzz.

Rating:

Zachary Houle is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee for his short fiction, and the recipient of a writing arts grant from the City of Ottawa. He has had journalism published in SPIN magazine, The National Post (Canada), Canadian Business, and more. He also reviews books for bookwookie.ca.


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