Fractions - Decoder Ring
Russell Degnan

Nothing quite beats stumbling on a good CD. Fractions managed to find me on a good day, when I could be conned by some half-decent cover-art, the fact that I'd written their previous album -- the soundtrack to Somersault -- down on a list of CDs to buy, and vague rumours that they were good. Fortunately, they didn't disappoint.

Somewhat reminiscent of Sigur Ros or Faultline, most songs have either no vocals, or a incomprehensible melodic singing, but are remarkably diverse in style. Jets, and Out of Range could pass for radio singles; Traffic male vocals and lack of drums are a different again; while others, notably 451 are closer to techno. Yet it is coherent and solid throughout, and definitely worth looking into.

Track Highlights
Escape Pod - A fascinating song. No vocals, just working through a few basic themes without ever getting tired.
Out of Range - The most likely standalone song, as it hints at choruses and things the others ignore, with a funky bass riff.
Traffic - A change to strings, guitars and a typical song structure showing they are pretty good at that too.
Shining Path - More instrument changes, this time to heavier guitars to play the same complex melodies. Very cool.
Fractions - The soaring closing track, and the most Sigur Ros like. Leaves you wanting more,

Finer Things 24th November, 2005 00:30:07   [#] 


I was going to buy Fractions, but then decided not to risk it and bought a Sufjan Stevens CD instead. And while this was still a good purchase, Decoder Ring sounds nifty. Why didn't you write this a few days ago, Russ? Why? I mean, besides the fact that you probably hadn't listened to it then.
jon  24th November, 2005 17:38:00  

I'd listened to it.
I normally buy CDs on Friday. And occasionally, Sunday. As well as other days when my wallet weighs heavier than my conscience. So I'd Iistened to it and others waiting in the queue. The diminishing of said queue tends to correlate with a lack of inspiration to write about something else though, so you'll have to keep making your own judgements.

Tell me about Sufjan Stevens. Style? Quality?
Russ  24th November, 2005 21:10:21  

Mr Stevens
Come On! Feel The Illinoise is quite the album. I'd go so far as to say it's in my favourite five this year. Stevens is sort of like Paul Simon crossed with Wilco, or perhaps Jack Johnson if he was good. It's a postmodern take on folk-rock, but without the archness or irony that is usually associated with postmodernism - it's gentle, sometimes humourous, and musically very intelligent. And the subject matter is breathtakingly ambitious: it's the second of a posited fifty concept albums, each about a state of America. As such, it incudes songs on the Chicago World's Fair, UFO's, John Wayne Gacy, Al Capone, Superman, as well as musings on dead friends, stepmothers and music in general. It really, really shouldn't work, but it does, and it does it very well.
jon  25th November, 2005 10:16:07  

Ah, yes
I had heard some of his work a month or so again when it was JJJ album of the month. But I also didn't write down what it was I was supposed to go and find. I'll look into it.

Speaking of which, there was an icelandic (or pseudo-icelandic) band you mentioned to me a while back. Do you remember the name of that?
Russ  25th November, 2005 13:01:27  

Yes, I do
I'm pretty sure I was talking about A Safe Place by The Album Leaf. Gentle acoustic-y Scandinavian post-rock.
jon  26th November, 2005 17:09:20