Amateur Radio Operator - Sirens Of Titan
Who else thinks the alt-country genre is getting a bit saturated? Saddle Creek and other labels have made big claims in the territory, and it's getting harder for those honky-tonking indie bands to make a dent. When a group like Amateur Radio Operator comes along, it might just be cause for celebration; rarely does a band hit it's aim of an overall theme and cohesiveness throughout the course of an album so soundly as they do here, on Sirens of Titan.
The order of business is moody atmosphere, rusty edges and crumbling architecture. Electric folk in the vein of Band of Horses or even Bright Eyes, vocals and a theme of small-town lonliness and big-city corruption (along with vocalist Mark Johnson's expressive croon) lend their origins to the likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan. Plenty of delayed guitar (including heavy usage of the slide guitar) and a solid if minimalized rhythm section round out the sound. The imagery is the most powerful part of the music, which is really interlocking pieces of one big feeling of detachment and decay, underlined by hopefulness, but even that comes with a dose of bitterness. Lyrics are your Blue-Collar-Poet type; simple story-telling words of wisdom, deeply rooted and urgent. The songs that stand out for me are the title track (more than the rest), No Como Los and their interesting work-up of Minor Threat's "Screaming at a Wall" that fits right in.
It's not a story you haven't heard before, most likely, but it's one you'll be familiar with. Fans of bands like The Arcade Fire and the like should enjoy this as well, the overall atmosphere is right along the same lines. Very well put together and executed, Sirens of Titan is the type of debut that will cement the band's name in listener's consciousness, and should provide any fan of alternative country a treat indeed.
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