Have you ever heard a great song by a band who is completely new to you and just assumed that all the other songs on that band's album were just as good? I seem to deal with this a lot, but this was somewhat different. Instead of facing the "one-hit wonder," this was more like the "one-third-of-an-album-hit wonder." Remarkably, after track four (the reason I bought the album in the first place), it seems like they just gave up. I was loving it until it dropped off after the best song of the lot.
One of the most obvious problems facing the band is their lack of diversity. Sure, the fuzzed out noise pop/shoegaze thing works for them and, yes, I love it. But you can't crank out a full twelve track LP with two bonus tracks under the assumption that the listener won't get bored with their "dead sound" after a few minutes. I like to think that I've grown quite fond of shoegaze recently, but if all shoegaze records sound like this, I might want to just give up on the genre completely.
The only other evident influence other than that of the nineties shoegaze heroes My Bloody Valentine and Ride is, oddly, Motown. Now, I don't know about you, but I've always despised Motown. I'd never have expected to hear that stuff coming out of my speakers, but "Black Satin" and even "Sad Transmission" sort of have a Gladys Knight thing going on there. I guess it kind of woke me back up, but not quite in the way I'd wished.
After a few listens, I still can't really distinguish the differences between most of the songs after the second half of the album, but I can't get enough of the first four songs. The distortion soaking up the bulk of "Aly, Walk With Me" is outstanding, as well as the fuzziness in the other three. Maybe this method of songwriting didn't work out for the other tracks, but I'll always remember this album for its highs as well as its lows. Oh, and if at all possible, avoid the bonus tracks.