Friday, January 27, 2012

Love of Diagrams - Nowhere Forever (2009)

It's been two years since Love of Diagrams released their follow-up to 2007's Mosaic, which I loved.  Why, then you ask, did I wait until this month to listen to it?

Well, the band is from Australia, so the CD was available only as an import.

"In that case," you say, being a reasonably logical person of sound mind and body, "why not just download it from iTunes or Amazon?  No shipping, no import -- right?"

Answer:  because the digital files were available only as "imports" as well.

Yes, these are electronic files.  Yes, there is no "transportation" of these files or physical reason why these cannot be transmitted.  Yes, this is incredibly dumb.

In  any case, I'm happy to have had the chance to finally get a listen. Nowhere Forever is a sea change in sound; at first I heard a lot of similarities to Sugar's Copper Blue (and tonally that is the most direct comparison for the first half of the album), but the more I listen to it, the more it sounds like The Lilys' In the Presence of Nothing.  

I feel like I'm listening to the next piece in a student's portfolio:  they're now less about juxtaposing angular guitars against the vocals, and more about making a statement with a driving tone, then slightly tweaking it to make their final point.

"Lookout" and "Mountain" exemplify this perfectly:  it's a wall of 1994 grunge, spat at in the final third by a lilting guitar riff that's simple but very powerful.  You get pulled in by the undertow; it's a war of attrition you'll eventually succumb to.  This shows in the song lengths: 3 of Mosaic's 13 songs were longer than 3:45; only 1 of Nowhere Forever's 11 songs is shorter than 3:45. 

Despite the huge tonal shift in the music and song length, it still works.  It lacks the highs and lows of Mosaic but is consistently strong for the first seven songs before petering out on the last four.  

But I'm still not sure on this one.  I wrote 90% of this review two weeks ago, but have been vacillating on whether this is great or merely good.  I'll say this:  the first 3/4 make a really nice rock album.  The dropoff at the end knocks it down a peg.

CD Placement Rating:  Portable CD Case.

- Snilch