November 07, 2003

Sciflyer "Fair-Weather Karma"

As shocking as it may seem, it's been my observation that a lot of people who really invest their time in dreampop are quite conservative in terms of sound. I sometimes feel as if those that do feel as if they have a need, a desire, a calling that requires them to preserve the sonic ideas of 1988-1994, when bands such as Adorable, Lush, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Pale Saints and Spaceman 3 walked the earth. Not that those bands were bad--many of them were really, really good--but where do you draw the line between innovation and mere imitation?

Sciflyer's the lastest group on the scene, and though they don't do anything terribly innovative, they do have a few things that differ from your ordinary, hum-drum shoegaze bands, and the main thing that sets them apart is the fact that they're not really trying to be innovative. Sure, that sounds lazy, but it's quite obvious to me that Sciflyer is more concerned about making a lovely sounding record that's pleasant on the ears and atmosphere-creating than they are about being uber-original. In a weird kind of way, their decision to stay close to the formula is actually quite original; though they definitely sound like a shoegaze band, they don't really sound like any particular band. Plus, there's a harder rock edge to Fair Weather Karma that is definitely not in others who make similar music.

Really, though, there's nothing to complain about here. True, the vocals are so faint and distant that you really don't hear them unless you try to, but, again, I don't feel as if their point is to make some sort of grand lyrical statement. These songs are all utterly pretty and wonderful and even though no one particular song stands out-- Sciflyer almost comes across as an instrumental band who happen to have vocals--it's impossible to deny that this album is a pleasure to listen to. It's easily a record that's meant for listening to while reading books on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (You should follow the band's advice, because it does indeed sound 'better with headphones.')

--Joseph Kyle

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