Smallspace – No Matter (CD)


Dreamy indie-pop comes through on Smallspace’s disc, in the vein of The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy, and most of all “Kid A”-era Radiohead. However, it is during “Right Here” that Smallspace really begins to distance themselves from such an obvious tag; this is due to the electronic sound that burrows its way through the track. This version of electronic is not that type which is present in a number of the indie-dance acts that are such a glut in the market, but rather the style of electronic that one does not see much in the current; it draws from Plastikman a lot more than it does The Postal Service. This dead-pan sort of delivery (at least in terms of their electronic side) makes for a normalization of this decidedly-different sound, and on tracks like “For Days”, a sedate sort of vocal delivery struggles with a much more up-tempo arrangement.

This sedate sound is the one thing that links the entirety of “No Matter”, and while the disc will excite more those individuals into atmospheric composition, there are a few bones thrown the way of traditional (popular) music fans. Even as the instrumentation on “No Matter” tries to swallow up Jon’s vocals, a truce is made for one time only that allows the balance of electronic and organic to stay at a level amenable to casual fans. “Come Down Wake Up” is an interesting creature; the presence of guitar and bass on this track makes it bizarrely poppy, as a stark contrast to the rest of the disc. The guitar lines weave a sort of enchanting harmony that the much less specific electronic lines fail to do during the entirety of “No Matter”.

The disc’s sound is so coherent that “No Matter’s” run time, breaching the forty-minute mark honestly feels longer. There is no lack of differing sounds, but the disc in its entirety has the two-sided boon/bane of flowing together perfectly. While one track might feature a horn and another might come forth as more sedate than previous ones, the fact simply is that Smallspace does not really traverse the ends of their comfort zone nearly as much as they should. Without a complete divorce from their general sound at least once on “No Matter”, there is simply a most difficult time trying to go and keep the listener’s interest from flagging during this disc. This album knows what it is, but does not go as far as it can in terms of fleshing itself out.

Top Tracks: So We Say…, Right Here

Rating: 5.8/10

Smallspace – No Matter / 2005 Speedywagon / 11 Tracks / / / Reviewed 28 June 2005

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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