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Built By Snow
Mega
(self-released)
www.builtbysnow.com


We reviewed this album during Bargain Basement several weeks ago and I think this may be the first time an album has jumped from that forum into the regular reviews, particularly an album by an unsigned band (which bolsters an interesting argument about the role labels actually play today).

This band is a wonderful pop band with great hooks and balanced pieces. While a heavy dose of crude synthesizer and Moog sounds are featured in every song, the traditional bass, drums and guitar make up the backbone of each one. Think of the synthesized portions as very heavy frosting on a birthday cake. You'll hear snippets of Weezer, Devo, Split Enz, etc. without ever being able to hear anything that was borrowed and abused. That's the trick to having a great sound - people can recognize the influence without being able to identify one artist singularly (with the notable exception of Oasis and The Beatles).

The other great thing about this band is clapping - nearly every great track on this record incorporates clapping. Does that sound silly? It shouldn't. That's what pop is.
So, to this reviewer a solid album has at least 3 tracks that require multiple listening sessions. A great album reveals itself slowly - it has a couple of gateway tracks with hooks that bring a listener in and then the rest of the album is played as an afterthought. Eventually, the tracks the listener doesn't listen to as much are the gateway tracks. Every Frank Black album has this quality. "All the Weird Kids Know" should be on the radio right now. It's also the track this reviewer listens to the least right now but it's the one everybody should listen to first. "Algometric Touch" is also an instant hit with sing-along qualities and clever lyrics. "Invaders" has got all of the upbeat touches of a great 80's dance song. But while those three are great, it's the chorus from "Science of Love" that you'll find yourself singing over and over in the shower (We are mag-nets).

Overall, one of the best albums this reviewer has heard in a while.

-William "Cadillac" Donovan

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Mike Doughty



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