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Archive - You All Look The Same To Me CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.68 | 116 ratings

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3 stars It is ironic that this just happened - by complete accident - to be the album I chose to review immediately after my review of Porcupine Tree's "Signify," given that other reviewers have made comparisons between the two. Although there are some, I like this a bit better. / Archive has two basic "modes": Pink Floyd and, oddly (or perhaps not), Flaming Lips. Given that I don't like the latter much, I'm less fond of those compositions that are FL-ish. Archive also has an interesting knack for using fairly simple prog tricks well. And although I generally frown on bands that do not filter their influences (i.e., who "wear their influences on their sleeves"), I am letting Archive "slide" a bit here, since they clearly learned alot from their "master." / The opening track, "Again," is a shamelessly Floydian composition which starts with an almost direct lift from "Hey, You" and moves into a jam that is almost a direct lift from "Pigs" (You can even sing the lyrics "Big man, pig man, ha-ha, charade you are"- in half-time). Indeed, so close are these "lifts" that one almost wants to accuse Archive of "sampling." Yet even though the jam gets repetitive (in a way that Floyd is able to avoid), it is good, and the piece overall is both successful and enjoyable. "Numb" is a quasi-experimental composition, reminiscent of PF's "Meddle" period. "Meon" is a pretty PF-type song (with a hint of Moody Blues) which makes nice use of organ. "Goodbye" is a shameless Flaming Lips lift (it could easily have been on "The Soft Bulletin"). "Now and Then" is a nice, simple ballad for piano and female vocal. "Seamless" is another quasi-experimental composition that brings to mind both PF and Eno (a la "Before and After Science"). "Finding It So Hard" is the second FL-ish composition, which moves into an overly repetitive Floydian figure, and then back again. (The rhythm sounds suspiciously like "Tomorrow Never Knows" at double-time.) "Fool" makes nice, spooky use of mellotron at the beginning, moves into a FL/PF-ish jam, and ends with a nice "anthem-y" figure. "Hate" is, ironically, a ballad, and a pretty nice one. "Need" (the final track of the actual album) is a nice guitar/vocal ballad, and a beautiful, quiet way to end a fairly raucous album. The bonus track - "Men Like You" - is a maddeningly repetitive retro-60s composition, with touches of FL and, of all things, The Doors. / As general matters, Walker's vocals are good throughout; the drummer(s) should have gotten more credit (since they are integral in holding the album together); and despite some good sound effects, the recording is remarkably "plain," even "raw" in places. Also, because of the unnecessary amount of repetition, the album would have benefitted from a "trimming of the fat": it would have been "tighter" and even more listenable had it been pared down to about 60-65 minutes. / Ultimately, despite the shamelessness of the Floydian influence, I found this album far more approachable, likable and listenable than Porcupine Tree: the latter seems to "try too hard" alot of the time, and when they do not succeed (which is too often), they fall flatter than almost anything on "You All Look The Same..." [N.B. If you like both of these groups, I highly recommend Babble - especially their second album, Ether. Babble is not only much more "mature" than either PT or Archive, but creates soundscapes, effects, minimalist vocals, etc. far more successfully than either of them.]
maani | 3/5 |


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