All India Radio

Fall

by John Bergstrom

11 August 2008

 

This Australian group has gained critical acclaim for its cinematic, atmospheric combination of post-rock, indie-pop, and trip-hop. Previously, they were mostly-instrumental, employing samples and guest vocalists. Possibly not content with the critical acclaim and some TV soundtrack appearances, they’ve enlisted full-time singer Leona Prue for studio album number five. Prue’s presence certainly helps focus All India Radio’s sound. The ten songs, penned by Prue and bandleader Martin Kennedy, more or less follow atmospheric pop structures heard from like-minded groups like Portishead and Karma, with noirish guitars and moody keyboards leading the way. At just under 40 minutes, Fall is the band’s most concise album yet. Unfortunately, though, Prue’s warbling is usually intolerable. She’s clearly trying to emulate Portishead’s Beth Gibbons or Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser. Her overly-dramatic, high-pitched delivery, however, sounds off-key as much as not, sinking the otherwise prettily expansive music. Single “Persist” and “Morning Drops” escape on sheer beauty and craft, but Fall is a sound you’ve heard before, and heard done better. Kennedy and his mates found Prue through local classified ads. Perhaps they should’ve expanded their search.

Fall

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