A 24 Syllable Haiku
Last Night Something Happened
What the members of Isobella would have possibly done with their lives if Kevin Shields had never been born is anyone's guess. So thoroughly does A 24 Syllable Haiku rely on the formula of most post-Loveless dreampop that you can almost hear the bandmembers' sighs of relief that somebody else invented it for them, saving them all that strenuous legwork. The album is a dense, foggy thicket of gently corrosive noise engulfing vocals that exist for no other purpose beyond having vocals somewhere in the mix (the lyrics themselves are indecipherable and therefore meaningless). A 24 Syllable Haiku is like My Bloody Valentine playing Sigur Ros but without MBV's songwriting or Sigur Ros's sense of dynamics. Wake me when they reverse the formula.
Labelmates Monster Movie are afflicted with the same disease, but they do a much better job of hiding the symptoms. Perhaps that's because, as a member of Slowdive, Christian Savill was a contemporary of MBV rather than a follower. Regardless, Last Night Something Happened isn't particularly original, but Savill and Sean Hewson appear to be at least moderately interested in taking some of the energy that they could use to obfuscate their own productions and expending it on trying to write some worthwhile songs instead. "Sleeping On A Train," in particular, is a promising one-shot, big emo chords which evaporate to leave behind a song that could have been a killer new wave tune by someone like A Flock of Seagulls. Last Night is a mixed bag, but the music sounds clear and purposeful, so that even an instrumental like the opening "First Trip To The City" actually seems to go somewhere. (MH)
(Clairecords -- 1812 J Street, #1, Sacramento, CA. 95814; http://www.clairecords.com/; Monster Movie -- http://www.monster-movie.com/)