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.




Love in the Time of Coronavirus

I Went on a Jewel Bender in Quarantine. This Is My Report.

It's 2020 and everything sucks right now, so let's all fucking chill and listen to Jewel.


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.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.


Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."


David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.


On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.


Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.


Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.


Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."


How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

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.