Statistics, Often Lie

Statistics, Often Lie

So, what do you do when everybody around you suddenly seems to be doing the same thing you’ve been working at for the past few years? You stop and change directions. It can be one of the axioms for success, and one that Statistics frontman Denver Dalley seems to have taken to heart on Often Lie. While his previous efforts have practically glistened with a metallic sheen, bittersweet pop songs covered by a protective shell of robotic electro-isms, Often Lie runs in the opposite direction, eschewing the techno-pop aesthetic in favor of the tried-and-true rock-with-guitars formula.

The end result is, well, basically a damn good indie-rock album. Big, roaring guitars dominate, counterbalanced occasionally by chiming, shimmery melodies, and dosed with dreamy emo-boy vocals. Tracks like “Nobody Knows Your Name” and “No Promises” bring to mind Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World, with their delicate, baroque melancholy and repetitive-yet-beautiful guitar lines, while “Say You Will” makes me think alternately of The Promise Ring and the Foo Fighters, of all things, and opener “Final Broadcast” and the thumping “A Foreword” sound a hell of a lot like Weezer covering, say, Cursive; a far cry, needless to say, from Dalley’s previous attempts at merging Kraftwerk with the Get Up Kids. With “Final Broadcast,” in fact, he practically telegraphs the shift: “You could say we’re changing formats.”

This isn’t exactly new, mind you. Statistics’s previous album, Leave Your Name, actually put a fair amount of distance between itself and the self-titled debut EP — there, however, Dalley still did quite a bit of electronic experimentation, even if it was better-integrated into the actual pop songs he was writing. Often Lie, then, is the next logical step, with the electronics relegated to a background role (it still pops up occasionally, like on the atmospheric filler piece “By(e) Now”) and the focus placed where it really should be: on Dalley’s songwriting. With this album he’s proven himself a master at carefully-paced songs that burn slow, drifting along on beds of chiming guitars and processed drums ’til they eventually light the whole place on fire.

The lyrics are decent, as well, if a little minimal — the closest comparison would probably be to Elliott’s Chris Higdon, and that’s hardly a bad comparison to have thrown at you, to be sure. Of course, he doesn’t even really need ’em, as he demonstrates with the album’s closing instrumental, “10:22,” which comes off like a strange, otherworldly, gorgeous collaboration between The Edge and The Gloria Record. Even without the synths and electronic trickery, Dalley’s got atmosphere and feeling to spare.

(Jade Tree Records -- 2310 Kennwynn Rd., Wilmington, DE. 19810; http://www.jadetree.com/; Statistics -- http://www.statisticsmusic.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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