French Horn Rebellion: The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion

Proof positive that some bands might only have one single in them -- or, perhaps, half a single.

French Horn Rebellion

The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion

Label: Once Upon a Time
US Release Date: 2011-05-24
UK Release Date: 2011-01-31

There’s a moment early in this record where things are perfectly charming -- there’s 8-bit this, dance floor that, saturated synths galore, and enough neo-disco dabbling to make you wonder when Gloria Gaynor’s gonna burst through the speakers and show these young punks how it’s really done. But glory fades as surely as one’s enthusiasm for this seemingly endless record. While all this machinery making modern music can still be openhearted, that requires that there’s some honesty. Yeah, honesty. But there’s not much that’s honest here -- or, rather, not much that’s truly musical.

There are fast-moving beats and intriguing sounds in spades, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an actual song anywhere in its midst. Big dance numbers have to have a hook -- and an appealing one at that. The one that populates this album’s second track, “This Moment”, is as awkward as an eighth-grader's love poems. There’s a desire for someone to stay in the moment, but nothing, as far as this listener can tell, that makes the moment all that special. You know, the stuff that speaks to universal emotions, the stuff that we can, you know, relate to. Maybe it’s there, but the vocals are buried behind tracks that try too hard to be clever, as if we’re being begged to pay attention to how much weird technology is at the band’s disposal. Twirl your finger in the “big whoop” style now.

“Geomancer’s Compass and Other Quasi-Scientific Findings” starts off with its mind in the right place. The introductory beat is powerful enough to make you drop your drink and race headlong to the dance floor, but within in seconds it all devolves into the same aimless blips and bloops of fey disinterest. At least those tracks are somewhat merciful in their brevity. “What I Want” eats up nearly a full seven minutes of your life like a second cousin with an unspecified behavioral disorder at a family picnic. It’s all noise -- albeit melodic noise -- with no real content, and the whole time you’re forced to eye other records in your collection wondering if they don’t have something more worthy of your effort and your time.

“The Body Electric” tries to be tough, but instead just sounds forced, while “Broken Heart” offers more of the over-stylized slop that populates the rest of the record. And it’s the tenth track. If you’ve made it that far you’re probably well ahead of most listeners, because there isn’t much here to hold your attention. In fact, by that time you might have to scroll back to make sure that you’re not just hearing variations of the blandness revealed earlier in the album.

There’s a part of me that desperately wants to use a pun about being finite instead of making a grand claim about being the antithesis of that, but, frankly, it's too lazy. Something that works this hard at pretending to be music when in fact it’s just an excuse for a technology showcase doesn’t deserve that kind of work, either. I never thought I’d say this, but this offering has me pining for a Jamiroquai record -- at least on one of those there’s a trace of substance to be found.





Masaki Kobayashi's 'Kwaidan' Horror Films Are Horrifically Beautiful

The four haunting tales of Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan are human and relatable, as well as impressive at a formal and a technical level.


The Top 10 Thought-Provoking Science Fiction Films

Serious science fiction often takes a backseat to the more pulpy, crowdpleasing genre entries. Here are 10 titles far better than any "dogfight in space" adventure.


'The Kill Chain': Why America Might Lose Its Next Big War

Christian Brose's defense-nerd position paper, The Kill Chain, inadvertently reveals that the Pentagon's problems (complacency, inertia, arrogance) reflect those of the country at large.


2006's 'Flat-Pack Philosophy' Saw Buzzcocks Determined to Build Something of Quality

With a four-decade career under their belt, on the sixth disc in the new box-set Sell You Everything, it's heartening to see Buzzcocks refusing to settle for an album that didn't try something new.


'Lie With Me': Beauty, Love and Toxic Masculinity in the Gay '80s

How do we write about repression and toxic masculinity without valorizing it? Philippe Besson's Lie With Me is equal parts poignant tribute and glaring warning.


Apparat's 'Soundtrack: Capri-Revolution' Stands Alone As a Great Ambient Experience

Apparat's (aka Sascha Ring) re-imagined score from Mario Martone's 2018 Capri-Revolution works as a fine accompaniment to a meditational flight of fancy.


Chouk Bwa and the Ångströmers Merge Haitian Folk and Electronic Music on 'Vodou Alé'

Haitian roots music meets innovative electronics on Chouk Bwa and the Ångströmers' Vodou Alé.

My Favorite Thing

Weird and Sweet, Riotous and Hushed: The Beatles' 'The White Album'

The Beatles' 'The White Album' is a piece of art that demonstrates how much you can stretch, how far you can bend, how big you really are. The album is deeply weird. It has mass. It has its own weather.


Sarah Jarosz Finds Inspiration in Her Texas Roots on 'World on the Ground'

By turning to her roots in central Texas for inspiration on World on the Ground, Sarah Jarosz has crafted some of her strongest songs yet.


Hinds' 'The Prettiest Curse' Is One of Victory

On The Prettiest Curse, Hinds create messy pop music that captures the vibrancy of youth without being childish.


12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.


Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.