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YOU ALL LOOK THE SAME TO ME

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Crossover Prog

3.66 | 83 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Music can rarely be appraised out of context; when I want to hear a banging drum and bass track I don't put on NICK DRAKE, and when I'm in the mood for THE RAMONES it's usually not for melancholy introspection. Likewise, when I'm listening to progressive rock I don't care to hear the overly referential, self-conscious, 'modern retro' attitude so prevalent in trendy pop/ rock/ electronica (and almost any bookstore or coffee shop). It can be groovy, baby, but it's a cheap way to attract attention and you can always say you're being ironic to fend off criticism. In that way, ARCHIVE is a bit like those third-generation punk bands who get novelty hits from covers of cheesy old pop songs- or even worse, the recent "Scooby Doo" films. If I ever wanted to listen to a PINK FLOYD tribute band I'd pick one that didn't pad out their sets with flaccid industrial/ electronica flavors and sophomoric attempts at 'alternative rock'. I'm not totally against genre-bending, but a band really has to show something special if they are trying to combine obviously disparate styles, and ARCHIVE falls short. It's too bad, in a way, because it does sound like the individual members have talent and songwriting skills, but taken on any level this is a mediocre album at best. "Again" sets the tone for the FLOYD parts of the album, "Numb" for the 'we're so experimental' electronic indulgences, and "Now and Then" in particular sounds like something you'd hear at a teen talent show. Their music doesn't work as prog rock- they have neither the musical discipline nor the appropriate adventurous approach. It also doesn't work as industrial or electronic music- there are far too many 'modern rock' moments, and way too many truly original electronic artists out there to compare them to. As quirky self-conscious genre-defying alternative-rock types they have neither the energy of the FLAMING LIPS nor the inspiration of RADIOHEAD (nor even the ironic goofiness of BECK). Maybe in a year or so ARCHIVE will have a hit- one of those novelty one-offs that is fun for about a week. Maybe a reggae remake of "Dark Side of the Moon"...oh wait, even that's already been done. You may love the album, especially if you think that the MARILYN MANSON version of "Sweet Dreams" was groundbreaking and PINK FLOYD only got better after Roger Waters left. One star for ARCHIVE's wasted talent and another just for karma.
James Lee | 2/5 |

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