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onethousand pictures
onethousand pictures
Columbia Records

Here's a debut album from San Diego's onethousand pictures, billed by our erstwhile music editor as "a poppier / better Interpol". Having been bowled over by Interpol's first record and highly impressed by their second, I'm not sure I can agree with the "better" part, but no arguments on the poppiness.

Singer Evan Robinson and guitarist Reid Kirby launched their band as recently as 2004, with the aim of making music that gives people an alternative to all the negativity out there. That's a lofty aim, and I applaud the guys for not just jumping on the latest bandwagon, but it's also a helluva lot to live up to.

Landing a major deal with Sony, the band got the star lineup of Jeff Saltzman and Mark Needham to produce their debut. This is the same team that did the first, excellent Killers album, Hot Fuss - again, lots to live up to by association (and why, oh why didn't The Killers build on that great debut instead of going all classic-rawk on us ? Harrumph.)

Having listened to it many times, per Hybrid's policy of giving everything we review a real go before voicing an opinion, I have to conclude that onethousand pictures is an appealing record, but ultimately a bit of a disappointment. There are plenty of things to attract the post-punk crowd, from the very 80's vocals (it wouldn't have surprised me to find out that the band, or at least the singer, was British; the closest likeness I can think of is Paul Simpson from the Wild Swans, or even (gag) A Flock of Seagulls' Mike Score) to the effects-laden guitars and synth flourishes.

At least onethousand pictures have some very good taste in their influences. "Take My Everything" reminds of the aforementioned Killers, with the somewhat irritating "whoah ho"s at the end of each line being redeemed by a soaring chorus and chiming, U2-like guitars. "Monster" reminds me quite a bit of the much-missed Kitchens Of Distinction, albeit without the guitar wizardry and lyrical sensitivity that gave them their place in music history.

The slower songs on the record tend to be better; there are many nice melodic touches, and Robinson's voice works better without when he's not straining so much to get the Big Rock Vocal. "Lion" is a particular standout in this respect, definitely living up to the Interpol references.

Ultimately, this seems like something a major label thinks would yield a hit or two, rather than a genuine bolt from the blue; however, there's enough potential for me to recommend that you check out onethousand pictures' next one.

-Gareth Bowles

Track listing:
1. Take My Everything
2. Long Way
3. Because I Love You
4. Cold Rain
5. As I Am
6. Insanity
7. TV
8. Lion
9. Monster
10. Stare Into the Sea
11. Look to the Stars

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