Awesome New Republic – ANR So Far (CD)

“Wheels, No Engines” seems to begin much in the same way as a Fischerspponer track, but Awesome New Republic shows their sound to be much more complicative and inclusive than being describable by just a few acts. There are hints of Talking Heads, Radiohead, and Death Cab For Cutie strewn about this dreamy, electronic pop act. The professionality enjoyed by the band is perfect for the style of music that they create; what happens much too often with these largely-electronic based acts (that is, bands in which an electronic sound takes a large part) is that a certain technical perfection is achieved at the distinct disadvantage of losing some essential humanity in the transactions.

Awesome New Republic comes forth with the Bravery-like sound of “2K3012” with both their own brand of perfection and some added humanity to boot. What is endearing about Awesome New Republic is the fact that no one can forecast what is going to happen next on the disc; “Sneeky” has a backing beat that woulsd be perfect for practically any rap song out on the market, while there is a distinct atmosphere created here by the intersection of vocals and instrumentation. The strong vocal presence of a track like “Going Down” puts Awesome New Republic in some good company; the vocals seem to recall Erasure and all the great early-nineties dance act equally. “Kill South Beach Dead” is another seachange by Awesome New Republic; starting out in somewhat of a rap vein, the second half of the track really seems to move into newer Nine Inch Nails territory (or rather, a Nine Inch Nails type of instrumentation mixed with Justin from The Darkness’ vocals.)

Each of the songs here is radio friendly even if the arrangements are new and challenging; this is perhaps the best way to bring the average listener into music that is complex while still having some sort of sheen to it. “Constant Surgery” is perhaps the strongest track on the disc not for any euphonic sound but for an always-challenging brand of arrangement that randomly throws in stutter-steps to a very approachable mix. The disc’s fifty-two minutes allow Awesome New Republic the chance to really experiment, as evidenced by the atmospheric creations during “Dirge”. This track furthers the bands sound as well as sounding great; by touching all of their bases and getting everyone involved, Awesome New Republic has created a solid album.

Top Tracks: Dirge, 2K3012

Rating: 6.9/10

[JMcQ]

Awesome New Republic – ANR So Far / 2005 Sutro / 14 Tracks / http://www.awesomenewrepublic.com / Reviewed 09 December 2005

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