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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Electro Group - A New Pacifica

Name: Electro Group
Album: A New Pacifica
Year: 2000
Style: Electro-Noise
Similar Bands: My Bloody Valentine, Breeders, Stereolab, Spinanes
"One-Word" Review: Thick-fuzzed-out-mind-drilling-rock
Based Out Of: Sacramento, Cali
Label: Omnibus Records
A New Pacifica - Cover & Record
A New Pacifica - Back & Record
A New Pacifica (2000)
  1. Trigger/Repeat/Hold 0:28
  2. La Ballena Alegria 3:33
  3. If You Could See 4:04
  4. Line Of Sight 3:50
  5. Cyrna Ruka 2:31
  6. Reprise 0:55
  7. Continental 5:00/
  8. 4,5 and 7 0:29
  9. Can't Remember 2:16
  10. A New Pacifica 1:27
  11. Biped 3:15
  12. Last Flight of Fantazma Gordo 4:06
  13. 19.5 3:17
  14. Manimal...
  15. Red Lectroid Orchestra 5:45
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
*No Liner Notes Included*
Tim Jacobson - Vox, Guitar
Ian Hernandez - Bass
Matt Hull - Drums

I don't think I've heard of this band. It is from 2000, so I'd like to think I've heard of them, but I can't recall anything related to the seemingly generic band name. I really liked the artwork on the album cover and back. It is sparse and symmetrical: bare bones as if they mean business. And with the generic-sounding name, I was drawn into the idea that they must have a strong handle on their music style, and I do like electronic music. I think I was hoping for dancey electro-music, but as for what I’ve read, it is going to be shoe-gazing, dreary music.

Album Review: The first short song, all of :28 seconds on the record is “Trigger/Repeat/Hold.” It is a bouncy orchestral strings arrangement, with an electronic effect used by both Bjork and SFA. It fades in and out, and then “La Ballena Alegria” begins with loud, crunching guitars and vocals mixed so far down that they are just a background instrument, similar to Stereolab. The music is a thick wall of sound with its dense, fuzzed out bass and guitar, but it is very melodic and repetitive. Feedback ends the track, and then a part acoustic, part liquid rhythm guitar begins “If You Could See” the thick bass comes in as do the mixed down vocals, and this song reminds me a lot of the Spinanes, with much more noise. The music is constructed like steps. It feels like you physically have to step up or down with the chord changes, and you can almost see the different platforms of sound as the song progresses. “Line Of Sight” begins with the fuzzed out bass, and the drums come crashing along with the guitar and vocals all at once. There is not much energy in the vocals, similar to the effort given by Ladytron, but that counter balances all the energy in the instrumentation, and actually makes the loud music soothing. “Cyrna Ruka” begins with a liquid flying saucer taking off sound effect. The lead guitar is more pronounced when it plays its hook, and the vocals fill the melodic gaps clearer then before, but as a whole, the noise and feedback is just too great of a presence to not take the song over. The song ends with phantom-echoy sing-song harmonized vocals. “Reprise” is next, another short instrumental, and it revisits the opening track with instrumentation that we’ve been grown used to. It is the same basic song structure, but the strings are replaced with the crunching bass and the electro-effect is replaced with a very similar sounding guitar. “Continental” ends the album with the same familiar relentless pounding sound. At times in the song, the music gives way to segments where the bass stands out for its catchy hook. This really does make me want to listen to the Spinanes…it is almost as if the Spinanes songs are demos for these sound adventures.

Side 2 starts with the short “4,5&7” it fades in with the same orchestral sense that side one uses. “Can’t Remember” is downright acoustic compared to the album. Clear vocals, light tambourine percussion, and a very easy-to-swallow melody. There are small electronic effects in the background and a chorus of ‘Ooohs.’ So this is what the songs sound like if you take them out of their artic home, shed the layers of clothes off, and sunbathe with them by the pool. It’s kinda nice. The title track, “A New Pacifica” fades in with strings and what sounds like brakes politely grinding the rotors of a car. Politely grinding because the sound does not grate on the ears, it should probably be more correctly compared to the warbling of a metal disc finishing its spin. “Biped” picks up with the thickness of music. The guitars are more headbanging-metal in this go around, but the vocals are still light and airy, and there is even a contrasting quiet breakdown where a simplified guitar takes center stage if only for a brief hook. “Last Flight of Fantazma Gordo” slowly builds with rhythmic, repetitive fuzz-guitar strumming, which is the basic structure for the entire song. Rhythm guitars are overlaid in a circular repetitive musical loop. “19.5” fades in with buzz and fuzz. Drums predict the loud, heavy guitars that come a second later. The song feels about as heavy as early Life of Agony, but as with all of electro-group’s songs, there is a certain fluidity in their music, the songs sound as if they are being played and distorted through a pool of water. The song fades out early and quickly into the last track(s) on the album. Two more are listed, but I am challenged to find the break that separates them. “Manimal / Red Lectroid Orchestra” ends the album. The vocals function as just another instrument, but are a little louder than usual, they highlight the melody of the music very well. The song trails off into instrumental full-attack mode for the second half of the song. Although it retains the same melody, perhaps where the words end, the song changes titles too.

This is a good album. It is solid, and it knows where to take the listener as long as they are prepared for noise-gazing rock. This is an album to be in the mood for, as I could not just put it on at any time. But the simplified, stripped down song “Can’t Remember” is like a template to show what you can look for in the rest of the music offerings. I just prefer the simple song to the fuzz and noise that they do very well.

Stand Out Track: Can't Remember

Electro Group - allmusic
Electro Group - Myspace
Electro Group - Omnibus Records
Electro Group - Last FM
Electro Group - Artilce on Performance 5/22/08
Electro Group - Bohemian Article
Electro Group - Ink 19 review
Electro Group - SF Weekly
Electro Group - Pop Matters

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