Argentine – In Other Fictions (CD)

The dreamy nature of Argentine allows the band to expand their average track length to over five minutes, and this Radiohead-influenced band is able to maintain interest through a continual refreshing of their sound. The tender sound that Argentine infused each track with is on the verge of being too Spartan to continue drawing tracks like “Fresh Inventions” along, but the incorporation of an electric organ specifically during that track (as it ratchets up the tempo slightly) ensures that the disc does not become too static. The droning guitars of “Ender/Beginner” provide a solid backdrop to showcase Ian’s vocals. Argentine is the musical example of a jobber in professional wrestling; absolutely perfect in the job eir does, the visibility that the work does offers no fame for the person. Thus, something that may be rich and vibrant is ignored by the masses of listeners due to the lack of hype and flash.

The sad fact is that most of Argentine’s music seems fit for incidental listening instead of party or group music; the idea with “In Other Fictions” is that someone should hole themselves in a sensory deprivation room to hear every single drum hit and vocal inflection really diminishes the experience for normal listeners with normal stereos. Much of what really depresses me about this album is similar to why I was disappointed in The Epoxies review – the band may do one thing perfectly (dreamy-pop) but proceeds to follow in the same style without fail throughout the first half of the disc. The incorporation of multiple-harmonies and a seventies-rock feel (accentuated by hand claps) during “Slumberside” is the first real move away from Argentine’s comfort zone.

The mixture of Weezer and Cake to their ever-increasing list of influences during “Slumberside” is something that is not recreated during the follow-up track “Westerly”. But to d o that would be to fall into the same trap that made the first half of the disc suffer; “Westerly’s” key difference that will make listeners beam is their inclusion of a violin; the few notes that one hears threads throughout the track is more than enough to keep them listening. Argentine is tremendously proficient in the style of music they play, but their nuanced brand of sedate indie-rock will struggle without something different, like the synth-solo in tracks like “Bowling Green”. Change is the essence of life, and Argentine will succeed if they adopt that as their motto.

Top Track: Bowling Green

Rating: 5.7/10

Argentine – In Other Fictions / 2004 Self Released / 8 Tracks / http://www.argentinetheband.com / http://www.myspace.com/argentine / Reviewed 02 May 2005

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