Sunday, May 01, 2005

Dream Lover:

Out Hud's Let Us Never Speak of It Again

Three years ago, when “S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D.” was released, it didn’t take much effort to catch onto the fact that the album would be one of the many harbingers to bring about the last gasps of the disco-punk movement. Eclectic, focused, and with that oh-so-important revolutionary mindset, Out Hud inadvertently posed the question: Can it really get any better than this? Unfortunately, it could not, and “S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D.” remains a rather dubious high point in a fad filled with poseurs and faux hawks.

What remains fascinating is how, even at this point, Out Hud are able to keep such an uncanny sense of themselves through out the melee. Their latest album (and return to the scene) aptly titled, “Let Us Never Speak of It Again” is a curious follow-up to a most ostentatious prior. Where “S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D.” was grandiose, “Let Us Never Speak of it Again” is pondering; Where “S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D.” was atmospheric, their latest outing is decisively benign. Out Hud have seemingly traded in disco-punk for eighties ambient pop. It is a dynamic that proves to be off-putting because they clearly have a set vision with the album and are able to pull it off—but what they pull off is no less under whelming simply because of its realization.

In the simplest of terms “Let Us Never Speak of It Again” is boring. It tries to be hook heavy in odd spots, and retains some of the off kilter attraction Out Hud displayed in earlier works, but falls flat due to the album’s poor pacing and complete lack of urgency. The albums use of vocals, which were largely absent on earlier works, can be effective most of the time but (surprisingly) add very little to the pot. The album sails slowly by with no purpose and leaves you feeling pathetically empty. Of course, not everything a group releases has to be deemed “relevant” by the pretentious media, but this is just plain useless and one of the bigger disappointments of 2005.

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