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The Egg

/Forwards

(Squarepeg; US: 6 May 2008; UK: 5 May 2008)

Once again, bad vocals criminally sour an otherwise decent electronic album. On their own, the instrumental arrangement skills and studio ideas of Maff and Ned Scott are truly solid. Throughout their third full-length, originally released in 2004, they tastefully beef up their housey electronica with live guitar, bass, and nice sampled horns and strings, sending the listener to a floating digital realm often visited by the likes of Télépopmusik and Zero 7. Hell, the vocals even work fairly well on the lounge downtempo piano cascade “Walk In The Snow”, surely the album’s strongest and trippiest piece. However, on the opening “Wall” as well as “Nothing” and the title track, Ned’s voice regretfully drags otherwise wholesome crackers into the cheese dip.


Even so, the record does carry a few noteworthy moments of greatness. “Always There” sounds almost like a Dangermouse produced Gorillaz single, with a funky rhythm section, spooky synths, and one Frances Ashman doing his best Damon Albarn impression. Despite its nauseatingly atrocious title, “Angel Of My Soul” introduces some light glitches and mauled computer voices to an ambient downtempo jam, while the aforementioned “Walk In The Snow” is an instant classic. The production of Benji Vaughn (Prometheus, Younger Brother) is vibrant and apt. All things considered, though, Forward is simply a few days past its best before date.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.


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The Egg - Always There (live)
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