August 22, 2005

Statistics "Often Lie"

For his first two records, Denver Dalley made music by himself, and the music reflected the solidarity of their creation. That both records never betrayed or revealed Dalley’s connection to the Omaha/Saddle Creek scene made the records even better. Even though Leave Your Name occasionally hinted at Dalley’s pop sensibilities, he tempered his sweet tooth for rock with intimate, homespun warmth that made his music charming. Apparently, Dalley felt it was time to take his music into a new direction, and for those expecting the quiet bedroom pop of before will be in for a bit of a shock.Often Lie, Statistics' second album, eschews the styles of yore for a much more commercial, generic emo-rock sound. Opening "Final Broadcast" sounds less like their wonderful debut album and more like a long-lost Clarity b-side.

Despite the heavy-duty use of a full band throughout most of
Often Lie, Dalley still hasn’t lost the lazy, detached singing of before. No matter how loud or rambunctious the music comes—and it does get rather loud, especially on “Final Broadcast” and “A Forward”—he never loses his cool. As the record progresses, the music sheds the harder elements, and songs like “Begging to be Heard” and “At The End” find Statistics gently reverting back to the quieter styles found on Leave Your Name. It's easy to understand Dalley's need to push his music in different directions, and even though the music sounds excellent, because the songs sound so been there, done that, they feel somewhat empty.

Often Lie feels top-heavy; the first half of the record is dedicated to his new style, while the last half of the record heads for more familiar territory. That the album starts off sounding hard, loud and poppy and ends with a return to form might indicate a conflict between a complete stylistic change and affection for the sounds that defined previous records. Had the record been a bit more varied in its programming, the stylistic growth might not have been as noticeable and the record might have felt a bit more cohesive. Often Lie feels like a bit of a misstep, a stylistic turn that doesn't quite feel right. Hopefully Dalley can rectify such problems in the future.

--Joseph Kyle

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