With all apologies to the band, a comparison must be drawn that
will probably make most people groan: when first listening to
the Umbrella Sequence's debut LP Sparkler Cliché,
the first influence to jump out of the speakers are those ubiquitous
Brits, Radiohead. Wait. Don't leave yet. It's all good
news from here on out. For unlike those kings of morose misanthropy,
the Umbrella Sequence doesn't wallow. They float. Elevated by
wispy, drifting keys and lyrics that achieve an almost spiritual
sense of poetry, yet firmly rooted by raw guitars, an intertwining
rhythm section, and lead singer Ryan Rupprecht's sincere
but fragile vocals, the music is suspended in an eternal dance
between the celestial and the corporeal. In short, it's the stuff
that sex is made of.
Don't take the analogy too far, though. Don't read words like
"poetry," "eternal," and "celestial,"
and think Tennyson and Shelley. This isn't romance.
This is love: beautiful, yes, but also messy, painful, and brutally
honest. With lyrics like "I am a curse," you shouldn't
expect a soundtrack for starry-eyed strolls down a tree-lined
boulevard. This is music for people who embrace every aspect of
life. More importantly, it's music that acts as a conduit, carrying
the listener directly into an emotion or experience instead of
forcefully cramming it down your throat. With such vividly descriptive
lyrics and colorfully woven melodies, it doesn't have to. In this
respect, they resemble a Dave Hickey story put to music,
or Mogwai with lyrics.
Otherwise, it's somewhat difficult to place the Umbrella Sequence
into a particular category. The "sounds like" game
doesn't work very well with them, except under some vague, lazy
"atmospheric pop/rock" heading. For only having been
around for two years, these guys have quickly found their voice
in the burgeoning Midwest indie rock scene. Not only have they
released an EP and a full-length album, they've also released
a feature-length DVD, showcasing their talent as a live act,
a music video for "Pushing Nevada", and footage of
the boys being boys. All they lack now are a couple of national
tours under their belts to get this album out into the world.
The people will listen.
- Emily Strong
1. The Disappearing Line
3. Penny Blue
4. A Presswood Smile
5. So Shine Sunshine
6. About A Photograph
7. History in Colors
8. Water and Repeat
9. Re-entry Means Less
10. Waltz of Thaughme
11. The Glass Staircase
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