Album Review: Ancient Future Records – Planet Passion

February 8, 2009


Concept: Why are you laughing? This is a collection of folk songs from around the world dealing with the stages of romance. Some of them depart from their original instrumentation, but there’s only one original piece. Okay..there are six, but they’re all based on mythology.

Sound: There’s actually a lot of good solo work in this album. Let’s see, it’s from Ancient Future records…so Matthew Montfort will have arranged, written, and featured in everything. To be fair, he is a good guitarist, and none of these traditional songs suffer when represented through guitar. There’s also a lot of variety in the mood of the songs, which is pretty surprising since it’s all about romance. Even some of the original pieces are well done: the musicians are all locked in to each others’ sounds, and there are lots of interesting transitions and chord changes throughout most of them. If your typical rock band were to crank out these songs, with some hip lyrics thrown in, it would be very well received. Two exceptions on this album are Ocean of Love and Ne Po Pogrebu Bochonochek. Ocean of Love is good enough of a song, but it crosses that thin line between soft post-rock and the stuff you can preview on a little machine nailed to a shelf in a crafts store, if only slightly. Ne Po Pogrebu Bochonochek is a different story. You have a perfectly good folk song about seduction, and the vocals by Irina Mikhailova (referred to in the liner notes as the ‘Ancient Future Song Goddess’) are suitable, although my existence as a U.S. male prohibits me from outright loving it. The guitar and fretless bass are fine..they’re actually good. The synthesizer comes in and you get a little worried, but a minute goes by and it’s not getting flamboyant or trippy on you. Then comes that mullet-inducing, braindead eighties drum beat, like a knife in the eye. And one and two and one and two. I am instantly transported to the age of seven. I am in a Goodwill with my Mom. It’s the middle of the day, and even though I’m basically wasting my life anyway at this stage I’ve never felt like it before now. I look to my left. A dumpy middle-aged woman in sweatpants with smoker’s jowels and a bad dye job is bobbing her head while rummaging through coats. She looks at me, then my mother, then back at me. She examines me, and I, unconcerned with her reasons, examine her. How could she have ended up that way? If I pull off her head, will I find she is full of sponges, lint-coated twinkies and Kenny G mixtapes? The sun is amplified through the window, my migraine intensifying. The synth howls like a cat trapped in my shirt, scarring my tender little belly. I am suffocating. I am dying. That was not alright. It will never be alright.

Quick And Dirty: Really a decent album. Just make sure you dispose of the case so you don’t get teased. (♦♦♦½)


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