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splendid > reviews > 4/26/2003
Aereogramme
Aereogramme
Sleep and Release
Matador


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "In Gratitude"

Buy me now
Yes, Aereogramme mix the prevailingly buzzed post-rock of today (Sigur Ros, Mogwai, Radiohead) with the prevailingly buzzed primal grunge of ten years ago (Pixies, Radiohead) and prove again why name-dropping Radiohead in a review is just as meaningless as trying to sell your car with the words "runs smoothly, easy to drive".

What Aereogramme really sound like on Sleep and Release is a bewildered, good-intentioned, self-consciously experimental yet undeniably mainstream, occasionally beautiful, occasionally awkward group of college-aged romantics too busy claiming their romanticism to move beyond stuttering emotional ejaculations and into the deeply felt, yet deeply realized lyrical evocations of, say, Radiohead. Sure, they meld muscular riffs with smoky organ meditations, folky landscapes, pompous orchestration and the occasional IDM skitter, but not without losing the transcendent detail that makes each of these genres worth savoring and holding on to. Granted, "Indiscretion #243" and "-" come up with successful, if toothlessly smiling, combinations of the above elements, and "In Gratitude" is a stunning exception to them altogether -- a beautifully elegiac mix of assured balladry and fluttering strings that finally lives up to Craig B.'s lyrical promise ("Anyway, I just wanted to show you some happiness; I wanted to show you the stars...let's hit the ground running").

I'm in full agreement with founder and guitarist Campbell McNeil's sentiment that "it's got to be about hearts on sleeves, not tongues in cheeks", but the same restraint that's associated with the latter approach is often why the former is successful -- and why, without it, all that's left is a bleeding, sickly mess.



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