[24 January 2011]
False Positive is a band that’s tough to categorize—which might, after all, be the point. The songs feature a constantly shifting soundscape of acoustic guitar strumming, organ lines, fuzzy stabs of distortion and the plaintive, lamenting vocals of frontman Justin Mikulka. Mikulka’s voice channels wistfulness with such effortless shakiness that one wonders if he could do anything else. As long as songs like “Hasty Martyrs Sing Fantastic” and “Strike Up the Band” are as good as they are, it hardly matters.
That’s not to say that the band is a one-trick slowcore pony. “Lament of the Theological Janitors” and “Wishing for Reason” introduce chug-a-lug rock ‘n’ roll to go with smart, sardonic lyrics: “I been blaming God, and He’s been blaming me / One of us is right—we’ll have to wait and see”.
There are missteps, like the somnambulent “Please Don’t Shoot”, which is unfortunately followed by the only-slightly-less-somnambulent “Small Part of Something Big”. At such moments Mikulka seems to be giving in to his most self-indulgent tendencies. They don’t last long—the album is full of two- and three-minute songs—but there are still too many of them for a band that elsewhere demonstrates a more expansive reach.