March 30, 2003

Aberdeen City "We Learned By Watching"

For the astute listener, it will take all of one minute for you to know what bands Aberdeen City consider their inspirations. Yes, dear readers, another band takes their inspiration from both Radiohead and Jeff Buckley, and once again I find myself caught between a (modern) rock and a hard place. Should I judge a band simply because they've not really made a secret about their influences, or should I simply look past that and judge them on the basis of their record, never mentioning the fact that these guys borrow heavily from some of the best artists of our time?

Setting aside the obvious fact that these guys probably have owned multiple copies of both Grace and OK Computer, I have to admit that I've been most impressed by Aberdeen City. We Learn By Watching is their second EP, and though I haven't heard their first record, I think I can safely say with some certainty that it probably wasn't as awesome as the one I have on my stereo. How can I be so cocksure? It's simple, really. We Learn By Watching is not the record of mere amateurs; it's one that doesn't hide the fact that Aberdeen City is obviously on the way to being one helluva band.

I mean, how can you not be impressed with lead singer Brad Parker's painful, tortured singing? On "Naysayer," he launches into an angelic falsetto that will draw you in and launch onto your soul. You'll be left impressed--I know I was. And, best of all--that's but one song. Parker's voice is strong enough to take on any kind of mood the rest of the band throws his way, from dark atmospheric storm of "The Protagonist" and "Empty Roof" to the lighthearted, poppy "Popular Music." Parker does it with such ease, you might think that he was a veteran of the Britpop explosion ten years ago.

Keep an eye out for Aberdeen City. We Learn By Watching is merely a hint of what's to come, and if it's any indication, then that full-length debut is going to be a stunner, and those comparison to Radiohead and Jeff Buckley will be moot. M.O.O.T. They'll be their own band, their sound will be their own, and the world will be theirs. Personally, I can't wait.

--Joseph Kyle

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