First Appeared at The Music Box, August 2001, Volume 8, #8
Written by John Metzger
The music of Lou Reed has long been pilfered by indie artists, and most of these groups simply regurgitate what has already been done and never seem to have much more to say. That makes The Anomoanon the rare exception. On its recent self-titled release, the band manages to blend Reed's brooding guitar-rock with the sounds of other '60s icons like Neil Young and Jefferson Airplane, and the results are rather intriguing.
Perhaps the most accessible track on The Anomoanon is the jangly guitar sing-along Going to the Sea, which teases Young, before turning decidedly Pavement-esque. The more interesting happenings, however, take place when The Anomoanon fully commits to a particular sound or style. On Flock, the group unearths a primal, garage band, acid-test groove that slowly churns with meditative fury, and Baby It's You finds beauty and stays with it to transcend itself.
Yet, there is also a fair amount of songs that on the surface seem interesting, but just don't quite hold together. For example, Camp's fusion of a funky Jerry Garcia-meets-Bob Marley guitar style with the strange hybrid of Brian Wilson orchestration and Reed's (as well as Pink Floyd's Meddle-era) murky atmospherics winds up sounding odd and disjointed; the off-kilter Airplane/Reed/Frank Zappa vocals of Mermaid's Womb distract from rather than enhance the song's baroque arrangement; and Baby, Baby, Baby's gentle, folksy roll is undermined by its group-sung chorus.
In the end it all comes down to this: The Anomoanon has a slacker's attention to detail. Like Pavement (the indisputable kings of slacker rock), the group puts forth many fascinating sonic combinations. But also like Pavement, the band often fails to follow through on these ideas, leaving its shredded shards lying on the table like carnage, waiting for someone with just a little more heart and a little more devotion to bring them to more fulfilling fruition.
The Anomoanon is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2001 The Music Box