[15 April 2007]
On Rhode Island quartet the Biltmore’s self-released debut, Same Story, Same Ending, the same indie rock band plays the same indie rock songs. There is little on this CD that can’t be compared to Modest Mouse or Built to Spill. But, hey, I’m not saying that invalidates the music. Several of the songs are quite good. Besides, if we listened to nothing but the great recordings from rock’s key innovators, we’d get tired of that handful of albums pretty quickly. A solid, if not exactly groundbreaking, band like the Biltmores make for a fine diversion. “Buried Underground” kicks off the album well, with chiming guitars, soft-loud-soft dynamics, and vocals that go from mopes to shouts in an instant. “Glowstick”, with its catchy chorus, staccato verses, and melancholic bridge, is maybe the disc’s best tune. Album closer “Pigeonhole Blacktop” is a good and surprising acoustic song, bringing their otherwise mostly latent Americana leanings to the surface. At 13 tracks, the album could be a little leaner. Whatever happened to those tight, concise, 10-cut records of yesteryear? Surely, if the band had asked, 85% of respondents would have told them to ditch the instrumental track “Brendan #2”, and perhaps a couple of other numbers, as well. With debut indie rock albums, less is almost always more. Nonetheless, a handful of well-crafted tunes conspire to make Same Story, Same Ending a worthwhile listen, particularly for fans of the aforementioned influential bands.