Features
Reviews
Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Archives
Bargain Basement
Downloads
Music DVD
Upstart
Pipsqueaks
 
 
 
Features
Reviews
Archives
Send Us Mail
Contact Us
 
 

For Against
Shade Side Sunny Side
Words On Music
www.words-on-music.com/foragainst.html


For Against are a classic music obsessive's group. They're unheard of by most and only release albums every five or six years or so, but are fiercely revered by fans who find that their atmospheric dream pop has the rare knack of highlighting its influences while transcending them.

Those influences seem to have changed somewhat since the band's last relase, 2002's Coalesced (which was actually recorded a few years before, but got stuck while waiting for a sympathetic label to release it). The expansive, sparkling sound of that album brought to mind lost shoegaze greats like Kitchens Of Distinction, Pale Saints or Ride, but the overall feel of Shade Side Sunny Side is a lot darker - think early New Order or Section 25, with gloomy echo and feedback and other guitar textures over moody basslines and staccato drums.

It's possible that some of this changed emphasis is due to the return of original guitarist Harry Dingman; he's been away for an amazing 20 years (since the December album of 1988), and his icy guitar tones here definitely bring that early work back to mind more than his replacement Steven Hinrichs' work on the more recent records. However, drummer Paul Engelhard and bassist / singer / lyricist Jeffrey Runnings are still here, and Runnings' lyrics have definitely taken a darker turn. On most of the For Against albums Runnings sounds wistful and reflective, but here he's often downright gloomy - not that this is necessarily a bad thing, think of the early Cure's rapid transition from Three Imaginary Boys through 17 Seconds to the nigh-on desperation of Faith or Pornography, for example.

Dingman is really hot throughout this record - he obviously didn't put away his guitar during the 20-year interregnum (in fact, the guitarist stayed busy by forming the Millions with original For Against drummer Greg Hill; their albums M Is For Millions and Racquel are well worth checking out). He kicks off the first track, "Glamour," with squalls of feedback over icy keyboards and Runnings' chant of "You can only get so far with that je ne sais quoi", then kicks into high gear with soaring, chiming guitar figures topping Runnings' urgent bass.

That said, there's plenty of variety here. "Game Over" is a gentle, piano-led respite from the guitar maelstroms, but bass and fuzz guitar boom in at the end like gathering clouds until they break into a full blown storm to make one of the album's highlights. Special mention also for the Section 25 cover "Friendly Fires," which betters the original despite being one of its writers' best early tunes.

Shade Side Sunny Side might be a bit more of a difficult listen than For Against's previous work, but you'll be amply rewarded if you stick with it.

-Gareth Bowles

Check out more reviews

Talk Back
e-mail the chief

Like this article?
e-mail it to a friend!

 


Mike Doughty



none now
-------


South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

AWOLNation
Rachel Fredrickson

Kanrocksas
Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo


Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Epilogues
Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Sebadoh
Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Thrice
Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

MuteMath
Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Thrice
Lawrence, KS


 
hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.