[6 March 2008]
PopMatters Interviews Editor
A lot of people will immediately take interest in Hello, Blue Roses simply because of the presence of Dan Bejar, the man who has membership cards for both Destroyer and the New Pornographers, both quirky, successful pop groups.Though he is now contributing to Hello, Blue Roses as well, he is largely the third wheel this time out, spending most of his time fleshing out his arrangements for arm-charm Sydney Vermont. For those who think that Bejar has found his own Neko Case, you’d be wrong. Bejar has discovered his own Lilith Fair second-stage crooner, a girl whose voice is good but never distinct, writing songs that tend to be hung up by their own preciousness.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to tell the difference between songs like “Golden Fruit” and “Skeleton Aims” because they just sound so similar. Tracks like “Come Darkness” sound better suited for local RenFaire than your typical indie-rock release. Though Bejar’s commitment to the project is unmistakable, it’s just unfortunate that he is deluded into thinking that Vermont is a singer/songwriter that’s on par with his many touring buddies (she’s not). There are, however, some moments of true wonder: “Heron Song” starts off as a stately acoustic ballad that gradually evolves into a mutli-tracked Flaming Lips number (think Soft Bulletin era), and the incredible “Shadow Falls”—riding a simple dance backbeat—proves to be the minimalist album highlight. These few songs are genuine highlights amidst a sea of generic acoustic balladry, a project that would make a great EP but—as a full-length—runs out of steam at a truly remarkable pace.