May 22, 2003

Envelope "Faded Letters"

Andrew Nelson is Envelope, a one-man New Wave band who makes music like its 1985. Of course, having been around those days, and having a not-so secret love affair with all things pop from that era, I've got to say that I've enjoyed every second of Faded Letters. With its supple, lush dancefloor beat, and intelligent lyrics, Nelson's has some extremely good ideas, and his ability as an instrumentalist shows. Every one of these songs have a wonderful groove to them, and are very pleasant for the ears..and the legs...for dancing is the prime objective here.

If there's one fault with Faded Letters, it's that Nelson's music sounds so...dated. It's hard to make synth-based dance music without succumbing to the sounds of the past. Because of this, Nelson's musical ability and skill get lost amidst the crowded graveyard of Bad New Wave Bands. When he breaks away from the upbeat dance numbers, such as the dark and brooding "Proclamation" and "Haunted," the music sounds a lot better; when he sticks to the synth-pop formula, I don't care as much for it, because it's so been there, done that, and it does his talents a great disservice.

Faded Letters just didn't feel like it was Nelson's record, and that's something that I feel is holding him back. Perhaps Nelson should experiment more with his instrumental backings, because that is Faded Letters strongest point. Having heard a ton of so-called bedroom dance-poppers' records, I can tell you this: Nelson tops the lot of them, and I really expect things to improve. Because this is his debut, these criticisims are forgiveable, and I'll admit that I'm eager to hear what Nelson comes up with when he develops a sound that truly is his own. The minute he does, I'll bet you I'll be dancin' all over the place.

--Joseph Kyle

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