Statistics: Often Lie

Dave Brecheisen

A solid, yet somewhat innocuous outing from Desaparecidos cofounder Denver Dalley.


Often Lie

Label: Jade Tree
US Release Date: 2005-07-12
UK Release Date: 2005-07-04

Statistics began as a side project from Desaparecidos co-founder Denver Dalley. The first outing, Leave Your Name was a slightly underdeveloped album from what was still a side project, full of electronic flourishes and some flashes of great songwriting. Often Lie builds on the debut, though it eschews the electronica for a more organic sound.

But what is it really?

A question I've been struggling with. I press play on my CD player, and though I'm immediately taken with the opening track, "Final Broadcast", I lose interest almost as quickly as it came. There is no rational explanation for it. There is nothing offensive about Often Life. The songs are tight, robust confessionals. The guitars are enormous and at times the music swells to passionate levels. Yet for all this objective praise, the album keeps coming up short at the end. The final track, "9.10.22", comes and goes as quickly as the album begins, and I'm left wondering what happened.

The opener, "Final Broadcast", stands out head and shoulders above the rest of the songs on this album. Quickly strummed, clean guitars almost immediately give way to explosive ones. "I'm playing songs from all the bands that I love," sings Dalley, "because no one ever calls in." The radio station as a metaphor for solitude -- it's frequently used, but rarely gets old. The break two-thirds of the way through the songs finds Dalley breaking into a smooth groove, singing, "This will be my final broadcast / you could say we're switching formats." If it seems simple, it's because it is, but there's a subtle beauty in that. The simplicity actually makes the lyrics sound that much more sincere.

"Final Broadcast" is followed by "Nobody Knows Your Name", and I immediately think that I've stumbled across an early Catherine Wheel recording, or maybe shelved demos from the Adam and Eve sessions. It is both exciting and slightly disheartening. I like Catherine Wheel and my ears perk up just a bit at the hint of its sound, but almost without fail, I am end up being disappointed. "Nobody Knows Your Name" and "Say You Will" are not exceptions. Despite promising beginnings, both songs drag and fizzle out at the end. And so begins the decline of the album.

Often Lie, even in its brevity, loses a lot of steam after the opening tracks. Midway through the album, Dalley begins to introduce some syncopated drum machines, distant and distorted. As a result the album slows to a crawl like Adore on Xanex. It never recovers. "9.10.22", the final song on the album, is an instrumental that, in the right context, could have been a helluva way to end an album. Here it just seems a meandering conclusion to a decent, innocuous rock album.

Maybe the reason this album misses the mark for me is, for all of the good aspects of it, everything sounds just one degree "less good" than its influences. The guitar tone, while occasionally reaching great heights, stays at too-comfortable levels. The distortion is never as much as Catherine Wheel or the tone as thick as Smashing Pumpkins. The rhythm section is sound but overly cautious. And the vocals, though far from disappointing, never really inspire. Much like the album.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.