Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Somehow Disappearing - New Idea Society

Somehow Disappearing

New Idea Society
Shiny Shoes Records.

SCQ Rating: 77%

A friend and I were recently discussing Autumn as a feeling, and how it registers to our senses long before the actual season goes about bringing leaves down and beckoning jackets from our closets. On a random August day we’ll feel the transition take hold of us, and no humidity or late-night fun from that point on feels genuinely summer-ish. Unsurprisingly, each August I find myself with a record that longs and bloodlets the way I do for Fall, so I hug it tightly. Perhaps New Idea Society’s knowing nod to The Cure’s commercial height gives Somehow Disappearing its understanding-starved center, or maybe it’s how the death of summer provokes lead-singer Mike Law’s urgent communications. When combined effectively, these weapons of modest drama inform the quintet’s third full-length with heavy handfuls of memorable dark pop.

Opening with the elegiac piano and undercut by some radiator distortion, ‘All Alone’ spreads out in aftermath, as if we’ve wandered into the first chapter of a forlorn diary. A song about disconnection more than abandonment, ‘All Alone’ isn’t nearly as Emo as it sounds on paper, even if Law’s voice does strike an unstable middle-ground between turn-of-the-century Conor Oberst and Matt Pryor of Get Up Kids. Somehow Disappearing is indebted to solid rock dynamics, fusing The Cure’s static mournfulness with peppy hooks on ‘Autumn You’ and piano sweeps on ‘Disappearing’. Contrasting the more upbeat, addictive numbers like ‘Strange Language’, New Idea Society display a flair for atmospheric slowburners as witnessed on the shimmering ‘Halluminations’ and the plodding momentum of ‘Come Outside’. The bands’ ability to evoke such compelling, eerie moods from a cheat-free set-up of guitars, piano, bass and percussion awards significant indie-credit, not to mention giving Law the freedom to hold onto each lyric as if they’re escaping from his wrists.

For all of the reasons stated above, it’s disappointing that Somehow Disappearing begins to self-fulfill its title with a second half that rarely competes with so many early highlights. No one song falls particularly flat but a short string of them dull the band’s sharp approach to songwriting. The relentless urgency pushing ‘Desolation Tongues’ gets a little claustrophobic while ‘If You Slip Under’ goes a few steps too deep – okay, way too deep - into Disintegration’s waters. Still, none of these slight lapses distract from New Idea Society’s obvious potential, which is spread across Somehow Disappearing's brooding majority.

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