“Dimensions” – ‘The Lovetones’
It’s been a slow week, generally. The drought-breakers came and went, we had some uppers and downers, and suddenly, it all just dried up. A momentary lapse into some smashing hits, a dangerous lick at the lollipop of music: that’s probably summed it all up for June. I think my partner, Michael Hodder, would just about agree – for the first time in a while, he’s asked me whether I’ve found anything worth listening to. Despite the slim-pickings of the season, we’ve got a few aces up our sleeve which I mentioned last week, sometime. We’ve decided that they’ll be our Joint Review picks, primarily because we simply can’t ignore them.
Other than that, I’ve had so many albums in my pending folder that have just been, well, average. Some have been loathsome, others have been boring, and if it’s not worth listening to, guys, it’s not worth writing about. I suspect, come the end of the year, I’ll post a listing of all the half-rate albums that’ve flopped. I’ve got copies of them all, and I think some people will be delightfully/frustratedly surprised with what I passed up.
Rambling, now, I’ll cut to the chase: it’s taken about two weeks for this album to grow on me, and is just about the last thing I picked before the storm left. “Dimensions” is a follow up to “Be What You Want”, ‘The Lovetones’ debut back in ’02. Although I’m not a hundred-percent sure whether this is their last release since then [and I’m sure it isn’t, it’s just I can’t be bothered looking for proper background info], for a band that’s been chugging along for about 7 years, they’ve only managed to pile a dismal 66,512 hits on www.last.fm. Now, if that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what will…
Oh wait, I know:
“Dimensions” is an eleven-piece album, nostalgic in it’s ways. It’s got the elements of the late ’70’s and ’80’s backing it, I reckon, an uncanny cleanliness about it [strangely ’90’s], with a general mix of boundary-burdened music. Led by “Matthew J. Tow [acous./elec./sitar/autoharp/vocals]”, formerly part of bands ‘Drop City’, and the more influential ‘The Brian Jonestown Massacre’. I’m not a big ‘Massacre’ fan, myself, and ‘Drop City’ is new to me – you guys might hear it in the music, but I’ve got nothing to go on, past-comparison-wise. “Matt Sigley [bass/keyboards/vocals]” and “Chris Cobb [drums/percussion]”, finally, make up the trio that is ‘The Lovetones’.
Genre-wise, you’re not going to find much new here: they might think themselves psychedelica, but I can’t find it in the music that I’m hearing in “Dimensions”. If I had to pigeonhole them, which I would, they’re an alternative band with rock on top for some spice [and they’ll need all they can get]. The classic use of electric guitar, which features primarily in a rock band, is somewhat muted in “Dimensions”, the more alternative-esque acoustic replaces it, and it’s how I’ve drawn my conclusions. “Tow” and his songwriting skills have been hailed reminiscent of “Ray Davies”, “David Bowie”, “Lennon & McCartney”, and you can definitely hear it in the music: Lennon-esque lyrics and vocals appear frequently, hence the nostalgia.
Songs touch base at around the four-minute mark, with a handful of exceptions. The album seems, at first glance, a solid playthrough, but I feel that although it spans eleven-tracks, it’s short, laid-back and overly withdrawn. It seems to happen with albums like this, that music melts into one and other: you’ve got the crusty outer-shell, the first and the last, and the gooified, caramel interior, which makes tracks easily indistinguishable from one and other. It makes for some painful listening, despite the scrumptious metaphoric-analogy. It’s why I’ve held it in reserve – it’s like the black pickled-egg in a jar full of white, the one you don’t want to eat. With no definitive beginning or end, I find it hard to like “Dimensions”.
“Moonlit Suite [Her Room]” opens for “Dimensions”, with the only hint of psychedelic-electric guitar – it’s instrumental nature oozes out onto the front like melted butter on the sidewalk, and it’s a slow, uneventful trudge from one minute to the next. Despite this, it would have to be the album’s saviour, a well-titled track, a slow and steady pace that’s almost reminiscent of “Pink Floyd” meets “Alan Parsons Project”. It’s easy to imagine a guy, a girl, a room, and some pink-fuzzy dice – but the track’s overall placement is off-centre in context with its fellows, I would have much preferred it at the end. An album needs a slowdown in pace come it’s end, this would have been perfect. At 4:38, it’s enough to put you to sleep – and if you’re not enthused now, you probably won’t be for too much longer.
“Journeyman” has some very nostalgic-acoustic, with a hint of autoharp/sitar. The album’s first appearance of lyrics isn’t overly lavish, with short, quick-to-the-point lyrics: “… I can hear her voice in my head, telling me the way that we must go-oooo-oooo-ooo-o….” I understand the comparison to the legends previous, there’s a heap of cliche-written music here. And that’s probably the only thing keeping “Dimensions” together. After this, I think the album collapses miserably…
I’ll skip ahead to “Look At The Waves”, which almost reminds me of “Stairway To Heaven”, with it’s intro. The first inclusion of a flute – in my entire listening – is featured here. I’ll move on, though, there’s not much else to say.
“Love And Redemption”, by the way, is like listening to ‘Ben Lee’s’ “Catch My Disease”, almost the exact same riffs, the lyrics fit the same sort of beat. Damn, it’s almost like that “Red Hot Chili Pepper’s” song [I forget which], that had a lawsuit because of it’s similarity to some other band’s one previous. For a laugh, I’d skip to this one – dang, is it similar!
“There Is No Sound” is a slow-paced song, intimate and close, with acoustic and vocals. It works surprisingly well, and near the end, it is appropriately placed. I won’t speak at all about what features at the end itself though, a loathsome remix of “Journeyman”, and some other tracks that aren’t worth your time.
I was sadly disappointed with “Dimensions”, and it’s taken me about two-weeks to muster the strength, the willingness and the time, to even bother listing it on Highly Evolved. Our motto is: “Finding the best new music”, and I’m sad to say, I’ve let you guys down this week. I think it’s important to show you guys, though, the kind of albums we put aside because they’re lacking in some way. You might disagree with me, you might find “Dimensions” absolutely fantastic, but the whole entire point of criticism is opinion-based: you’re entitled, I’m entitled, and we’re entitled to argue. I’ll finish by saying I’d give this a solid two-out-of-five star rating…
… It needs work, in my opinion…
Now you’re probably wondering why I’m leaving it at this sour-note. And, to tell you the truth, it’s been a tough few days, I’m living on Panadol, Eas-a-Cold, a box of tissues and nasal spray. I can barely breathe, let alone type. You’re lucky you’ve got this much out of me, now skat!
The Enantiomorphic God