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Singer - Unhistories

  by Andrew Carver

published: 24 / 5 / 2008

Singer - Unhistories
Label: Drag City
Format: CD


Occasionally compelling, but often messy and scrambled-sounding debut album from American art rockers Singer, which features former members of U.S. Maple, Bird Show and Lichens

The members of Singer have an impressive pedigree as members of U.S. Maple, Bird Show and Lichens. Fans of post-Captain Beefheart art rock, acoustic meditations and drone music might be tempted to expect either a pinnacle of outsider music or complete disaster. ‘Unhistories’ is neither. Instead it’s a semi-coordinated stumble through post-structuralist rock. It has some of Royal Trux’s "can’t be bothered" attitude to vocals, timing and playing. On the other hand, there’s occasionally tuneful singing, with Robert A. Lowe of Lichens’ falsetto standing out. The band also lapses into some idiot savant riffing in parts. The combination might remind fans of U.S. Maple of a laid-back continuation of that band’s final work, ‘Purple On Time’. One is tempted to suspect afficionados of weird music may find ‘Unhistories’ insufficiently outre, particularly given the members histories (hmm, is the title trying to tell them something?), but there are compelling bits and pieces. On the other hand, ‘Unhistories’ might be a good place for someone looking to expand their musical vocabulary to start since there are a few recognizable signposts and some of it does sound really good. At its peak moments, the guitar scrabbling and lackadaisical drumming stumbles into a fractured art-rock groove. Elsewhere the members straggle toward their unknown destination in an undistinguished huddle, oblivious to the pace of Adam Vida’s rattling snare. As a whole, the album makes me wish Singer had tried to make a more straight-ahead rock album. The best bits are when the disparate members work together; the off-kilter stuff has already been done, and done better.

Track Listing:-
1 Slow Ghosts
2 Divining
3 Please, Tell The Justices We're Fine
4 Oh Dusty
5 Dumb Smoke
6 Party Lessons
7 Mauvais Sang

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