Communique – Poison Arrows (CD)

Fuzzy synths mix with a less-hopped up version of The Red Hot Valentines, Communique incorporates Geddy Lee-intricate bass lines to make a thumping, eighties-themed booty shaking track in “The Best Lies”. “Evaporate” adds what could easily be a Vangelis track underneath a Hot Hot Heat / Killers / Dead or Alive rocking-type track. Ryan’s vocals and the infectious keyboards laid down by Ryan work together, each taking the place of another at key points during “Poison Arrows”. John Peck really steps up to tremendously difficult bass lines during practically every track on “Poison Arrows, while not immediately noticeable the lines themselves play an integral role in speeding up the tempo on many a track as adding a low end to the music. Beyond anything Rivers Cuomo could even conceive up, beyond even Conor Oberst, Lookout has continued their upswing with signing Communique, dare I say the most exciting new band on Lookout in years? “Dagger Vision” has more of a Clash/”Rock The Casbah” feel to it than the previous tracks, most likely due to the more proactive bass line found on the track.

All the tracks on this disc are ultimately radio tracks, and while I know the retro current is strong in today’s alternative scene, I am not sure if Communique would actually be heard on alt-rock radio, which ultimately panders more to rich, white, yuppie jackasses who vainly try to maintain an air of superiority by listening to soulless pap like Norah Jones and Tom Waits. It would honestly make sense to incorporate Communique in with the 80s-themed stations, maybe run a block in which a number of the backward-looking acts like The Darkness, Communique, and the like are scattered amongst classics. “Strays”, even with being one of the slower-tempo tracks on the disc, still gets people hooked by the 70s-rockstar tenor of Rory’s voice as well as the bouncy bass lines laid down.

Even if the second half of “Poison Arrows” is slower than the opening strains of the disc, the more contemplative tracks of the second half are masterful at eliciting longing and are among the most well-written love songs of the last year. From “Death Rattle Dance”, “But What A Lovely Noise/I Love The Freedom That It Enjoys / I’ll Freeze to Death Before I’m Ever Safe Again”. Communique is the Criteria of this year, with both bands taking commercially viable bands (American Steel, The White Octave) and making new acts that provide the most solid music out in their time period (Communique, Criteria) .

Top Tracks: Death Rattle Dance, Evaporate

Rating: 7.9/10

Communique – Poison Arrows / 2004 Lookout! / 10 Tracks / http://www.communique.com / http://www.lookoutrecords.com / Reviewed 01 October 2004

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