Friday, June 02, 2000
As much as I enjoy his esoteric musings week in week out, I really think Glenn McDonald at The War Against Silence should focus on his own music more often, if only because his songs are so unassumingly artful. Confetti Beams rather surprisingly finds a clearing where emocore, electro-influenced indie-pop and isolationist ambient can quite happily co-exist without cancelling eachother out. Which I wouldn't have assumed existed before I heard it, but there you go.

This fits in with a lot of what I've been saying in my previous posts: pop is good, and experimenting is good, but successfully putting the two together in the same song makes something which is more than the sum of its parts. The trick here is not coming off deliberately "eclectic", which Glenn manages by drawing from weird, clashing ideas.... and of course by singing in such a ragged, unkempt manner (the "emo" influence). Actually the vocals do tend to distract me from the gentle loveliness of the lyrics - read them on his site to get the full sense of their elegance - so that they feel more laboured than they really are, as if this was the song Dawson Leery would write if he was serious about putting that John Lennon poster on his wall. In their place I prefer to imagine a more quiescent voice instead: perhaps Jason Sweeney (formerly of Sweet William) or Grant McLennan of The Go-Betweens.

I guess I've always unconsciously assumed that people who were too self-aware about their own musical tastes would make unconvincing music (known among some circles as the Bobby Gillespie Theory), and I've consequently shied away from making music myself (other reasons include rudimentary musical skills and no equipment, but that's hardly relevant). Because of that, what I think I like most about "Confetti Beams" is the sense that it could easily be a happy accident, not shaped by some overriding sense of what the music should achieve, of exactly which influences it should be drawing upon. It's entirely possible that Glen could have lived in a time capsule all his life and therefore not realised that pop music wasn't, by and large, focused around ambient drones. There are some lingering faults to be learned from still - the vocals are one, the ingratiating simplicity of the drum pattern verges on being another - but it is rare that you hear something which gives you a glimpse of the process of moving from apprentice to magician, with a vista of unrealised potential as wide as the horizon before you.


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