Monday, October 11, 2010

Broadcasts In Colour - Boy Is Fiction

Broadcasts In Colour

Boy Is Fiction
Sun Sea Sky Records.

SCQ Rating: 74%

Last Saturday night, the temperature hit zero for the first time in five months. Just a tiny touchstone in the greater transition toward winter but, standing on a transit platform, I witnessed its effects as if I’d just fallen out of July. The glow of humidity that hung beneath summer streetlights, seemingly magnifying the reach of its rays, had gone and all of the hospitality of Ottawa’s downtown core – the warmth of its curbs and benches – was thinning into the sidewalk’s texture. And, waiting for the last-call bus, I took in winter’s first breath with Broadcasts In Colour dancing between my headphones; a record that grapples for the heat of the moment between subdued and chilly mood-scapes.

Despite ‘As Far From Here As Possible’ being peppered by prominent IDM beats and treated melodies that arrive and pass like speeding headlights, Boy Is Fiction’s embrace of autumnal melancholy lasts until ‘Feeling Lazy’ delivers a swoon-worthy anthem that exists purely in the present. That Alex Gillett’s lazy feeling acts as the potent focus to such an emotionally motivated song unveils just a shade to his songwriting’s complexity, the greater confusion residing in the question: why doesn’t Gillett write more of these electronic-pop stunners? Heavily treated vocals make another appearance in ‘Until Morning Comes’ but are barely audible amidst the drums and lovely piano that carry the majority of these songs. The densely layered ‘I Close My Eyes’ plants these piano progressions into an industrial pit that Jesu might approve of, unlike ‘Either Way, I’m Dead’ which languishes them in stand-still ambience. Standing firm at seventy-five minutes, though, the record's growing dependence on pretty instrumentals makes us long for another upbeat, vocal-assisted anthem.

Flexing songwriting chops that excel at capturing the sweet and menacing, Broadcasts In Colour keeps remarkable flow considering how perpetually unstable its direction is. Gillett has vision and talent - attributes that are plainly audible within his LP's purposeful ego - but these widescreen laments not only become predictable (take what should’ve been one of the record’s loveliest moments, 'For My Friend', here undermined by an overused template), they outweigh what ‘Feeling Lazy’ proves to be Gillett’s equal skill. An enviable collection of songs to take through the brisk weather, Broadcasts In Colour leaves somber clues to what tremendous follow-up album may lie ahead if Gillett balances his gifts.

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