Simple is Good is a post-rock band from Russia that are on the more ambient side of the genre. Although information on the band is scarcely available online, what I’ve gathered is that they’ve released 2 EP and a full length prior to this latest album released on bandcamp in early July under Mimonot Music.
We delve right into the album which opens with relaxing and soothing keyboards taking front and center amidst a sea of restful guitars that glide through the track gracefully. In the second track of this 7-track, 45 minute album we’re treated to more angelic vocals harmonizing against a relaxed pace track as cymbals slowly crash and drums ever so slowly began to gain in intensity. Later in the track the softer vocals clashing against the heavy crescendo guitar work is both inspiring and unique. The female vocalist has just an absurd range, reaching Jonsi-esque levels occasionally. Later in the track the band employs the use of a sample as the track lulls to a peaceful ending.
The album really shines during the middle tracks which all top out around the 5 or 6 minute mark. Track 3 is a more upbeat paced tracks with highly experimental guitar tones and synthesizers making an interesting appearance. Vocals in this track are eerily similar to the previous tracks. While the harmonizing vocals are pretty, I feel like they wore out their welcome just a bit. Track 4 is a slow burn buildup track that sees the keyboards as the largely focal point of the track. I really enjoy the drumming on this album as drums sound very open and airy while cymbals are tight and compact. Track 5 is yet another fine ambient track that has a fluttering cool guitar competing with the keyboards for dominance. This is definitely the most memorable track on the album in my opinion. The track is just one of those fun tracks that really grows on you. The closing minute or so is just aces all around.
Track 6 is where the album lost me unfortunately. While the track does a good job expanding upon the mood set by the album, the bow instruments in this track really felt out-of-place in a classic case of what appears to be the band simply trying to do too much. It gets especially awkward when the distortion guitars hit halfway through the track to pump life into the track only to have the presence of the bow guitars remain to kill the heavier vibe. I appreciate the abstract idea the band tried to accomplish here but there are just far too many layers that seem to spout off in all directions with really no synergy. The album wraps up with a twinkly closer that is beautifully mixed and features some really creative guitar layering. On this track the guitar and keyboard come together quite and work as one rather than compete against each other.
The creative element is definitely there with Simple Is Good. The keyboards outshines the guitar work which I found to be really hit or miss. I’ve always said that in post-rock being unique is the only way to stand out amongst the crowd. Simple is Good is definitely unique but I just don’t feel like it’s quite all there yet. Despite all my gripes with this album let me make it clear that I did enjoy this album. It’s an acceptable release that should appeal to those who want something new and creative but still familiar. – 9-1-12
Pay what you want on bandcamp: http://mimonot.net/album/lp-2012