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All India Radio

Fall

(Minty Fresh; US: 15 Jul 2008; UK: Available as import; Australia release date: 9 Jun 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.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


Media
All India Radio - Persist
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