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YOU ALL LOOK THE SAME TO ME

Archive

 

Crossover Prog

3.64 | 85 ratings

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semismart
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The nucleus of Archive is Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths who seem to break up every couple of years and then reform with a different style. Maybe that’s why they break up, differences in style. Well I hope they don’t break up again since their style is now perfecto!

Darius and Danny started playing trip hop around 1994 with lady singer Roya Arab and rapper Roski John but they broke up in 1996 (what’d I tell ya) and reformed the following year with different personnel and recorded “Londinium”. I haven’t heard it but it’s reputed to be a pretty good disc, though strictly trip hop. After another breakup our boys got back together with new members again and recorded their sophomore effort, “Take My Head”. Again I haven’t heard this but I hear they went Pop on this one getting some radio play and getting a hit single and also getting noticed. In 2002 they shifted style once more, to the chagrin of their existing fans, and released their third release, their tour de force (especially “Again”) and their best album ever You All Look The Same To Me - they have one more entitled “Noise”

You All Look the Same To Me

You All Look The Same To Me is tough to categorize. It has elements of their previous work but it is clearly veering into a floydian style of ambient electronic, progressive rock. The music varies from slow to medium paced, from gentle to driving. from melancholic to emotive. Some songs such as “Numb” are pretty monotoned while others such as “Again”, “Finding it so Hard” and “Meon” are varied in style, pace and content. There are interesting portions where instruments not normally associated with any of these genres are utilized such as Violin, viola, harmonica and trumpet. Archive have a capable singer, whose style reminds me of Smashing Pumpkins guitarist singer, Billy Coragan, is Craig Walker, who I might add is ably backed up by a couple lady singers.

Killer Songs

Truly a sixteen minute masterpiece, Again starts out innocent enough with a subtle repetitive acoustic guitar riff and keyboard backing Walker's melancholy vocal accusations: "You're killing me again Am I still in your head? You used to light me up Now you shut me down" Walker's singing is never better than it is on this song. He starts out, as the song does, gentle almost delicate and as the song picks up steam through the middle so does Walker pick up emotion. At about the two minute mark the song gets temporarily ethereal with an echoing vox and harmonica and violin/viola, I don't know which. Then the pace picks up a little with a distorted guitar, drums and a stronger harmonica. There is a classic Floyd sound from here on out. At eight or so minutes the song really gets going and the singer Walker is practically crying, he's so emotive. Sound effects are replete and you're saying to yourself, please don't end and then at about the eleven minute mark the music stops and slowly starts up again ala "Welcome to the Machine". By now you are practically drained but you know when it's over you got to play it "Again" and then you figure out where they got the name, because you'll play it again and again and agai....................

After "Again" everything is a let down though "Numb" is a pretty good song, with a driving beat and the disharmonic guitar is back for an encore, though what few lyrics are evident on the song are fairly unintelligible.

"Seamless" is a Floydian style instrumental, short but good which leads into the fifteen minute semi-masterpiece, "Finding it so Hard". Now this is no "Again" but if there was no "Again" it would seem pretty good. As with “Again” there is nothing memorable about the heavy beat medium paced beginning but at about five minutes we get a little Floydianisk atmospheric mysticism. Near eight minutes the heavy beat is back but infinitely more interesting. The unrequited love theme of the album is repeated here with lyrics like: “ I'm finding it so hard To make my life with you I'm finding it so hard To let myself be with you

CONCLUSION

I'll admit there's a lot of Pink Floyd in this album but with Floyd failing to release any new material since 1994, what's wrong with that. Some have said YALTSTM sounds a little like Radiohead and Porcupine Tree as well. I agree with that and while we're at it let's add Anathema and Pain of Salvation into the mix but let's face it, aren't there Floyd influences in all those bands.

semismart | 4/5 |

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