One Ring Zero

Wake Them Up

by Dan Raper

14 November 2006

 

The concept is really intriguing—a real lit-rock band, tied in to the NYC McSweeny’s scene—and brings to mind a kind of bohemian idyll where One Ring Zero members Michael Hearts and Joshua Camp sit around the fire with Dave Eggers and Jonathan Lethem and Paul Auster and tell each other stories and set them to music. On their latest album, though, One Ring Zero comes across more as a sub-par parody of the Decemberists than a vital, different perspective. The band likes to use all-sing-together choruses—in “Three Quarters Late” they sound like Willy Mason—and the junkyard orchestral circus of Beirut, though they come off pallid in comparison.  There are some solid songs here, and alt-country influences waft over many of the songs, providing a touchstone that’s at least different from the lit-folk we know well already. And at their best, like on “A Moving World”, the band captures a feeling—here, the ever-turning, uncaring world—in beautifully layered, repeat-rocking strings, accordion tide, and subtly cut-up vocals. But when the band really gets into it they become self-parodying: “Sad Carousel” is melancholy circus music, and the sing-through-the-megaphone trick makes the song seem hokey, like the soundtrack to a schlock horror film.

Wake Them Up

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article