(IamHop – Please welcome Bothra to Postrockstar! Bothra is a founding member of Post-Rock & Beyond on turntable.fm and brings a deep understanding and knowledge of the realm of Post-Rock to the site. He is the first of what I hope to be many contributing writers to the site in order to diversify reviews and catch up on our huge backlog of albums to review so that we can provide a faster turn-around time to new releases and bring other featured articles to the site. )
For my first review, I’m taking a look at Jakarta Project’s latest offering, Beauty Lies In Lover’s Eyes. Released on August 13, this is the followup to Geographic, reviewed here back in July. I find most of IamHop’s thoughts apply to this release as well. This Russian band seems to be pretty busy this year in the studio.
Another short album, nearly an EP, this one clocks in around 30 minutes from six tracks. The first thing I notice is the album cover, a pretty girl in the water with her eyes closed. I wonder if this has significance since beauty, apparently, lies in her eyes – yet they are shut. Is there no beauty, or is it something that will be revealed by listening to the album? I guess we’ll find out.
Album opener – The Owl Song – greets us with heavily delayed and reverb rich acoustic guitars which come across cleanly and precisely. I definitely get a feel for their unique sound and am reminded of a few tracks from Geographic as this short track washes over me. It gets me excited to hear the rest of the album as any great intro should. Unfortunately, it begins to feel haphazardly thrown together when the next track, LA Streets, starts us off with an electronic loop bleeding into some heavy riffs. Here is when I first notice what is known as “the bandcamp sound” – the lack of production quality is apparent, but understandable for self-releases, especially from these less-than-established bands. Typically, I can move past that and listen to what the artists were trying to convey. Regardless of that, we have short bursts of riffs backed by a pulsing drumbeat giving away to a breakdown with an Indian vibe to it. The electronic loop resurfaces at the end and suddenly there is a piano or keyboard towards the end of the track. The third track feels like filler, with the lead guitar picking the melody over some clean delay loops and a meandering melody.
Maria’s Sunday Morning is probably the strongest track on the album for me. We’re reminded of the album opener as this song starts us off with acoustic guitars working their way into the mix with another electronic loop. The drums beat a pretty standard poppy 4/4 behind this interesting mix of electronic loops overlaid with pretty guitar work. The build-up and punch remind me of God Is An Astronaut, while the melody is memorable it falls into the standard rinse-and-repeat trap. The overall climax of the song is underwhelming, which could be due to production and we’re left with more electronics to lead us out to the next track. Last Night in Tokyo revisits a disco beat, this time over light piano notes. The main riff kicks in and I feel underwhelmed again, and the final crescendo shows promise of a heavy, rocking band but ends too quickly. We’re left with the final track, Out Of Memories, which opens with sounds of a seashore. This somber track is slow and dreamy, feels almost verse-chorus-verse without vocals. It’s a pretty happy melody, kind of mellow and winds down leaving us back at the seashore listening to the waves.
Overall, a pretty standard release. This band follows in the footsteps of Maserati’s middle releases – danceable beats with heavily delayed guitars providing the melody. Where it fails is the lack of production quality and overall meandering between sounds. We have acoustic guitars, electronic looping, heavy riffs, pianos, dance beats, cymbal riding and even a cowbell or two. I felt confused on their direction but not totally disappointed. If this band were to get some quality studio time with a seasoned engineer, I feel they could make a powerful record. Still, with the album as pay-what-you-will via bandcamp, it should be digested by any fans of this genre. 8-17-12
Pay what you want on bandcamp: http://jakartaproject.bandcamp.com/