Follow Me Blind
There is a lot of filler on this album, but in the classic way that a really lovely live band can feel pressure to put out a full-length before its time. While the high points are many, the throwaway tracks are unfortunately a substantial contribution. The worst offender, "Magnifico (The Mule)," is simply lazy, filled with uninspired organ chords and so-so instrumentation, going nowhere. But let's talk instead about the better songs on the album, some of which approach greatness.
The opener, "Solidify," works both as a commercial track and as a declaration of terms: its ominous breakdowns and clever reliance on jagged riffs and industrial edge, and openness to putting the organ front and center (other songs include what sounds like a theremin and an accordion, beautifully), make a strong case. A few modulations attempt to add suspense and fall flat, and a breakdown comes close to ruining the song's momentum; but all in all it's a wonderful start. "Sold," an intelligently sleepy soundtrack candidate, with a Kid A sound, is also a reviewer favorite. Many of the songs reference Radiohead in tone, Peter Schilling in structure, and old-school video games in melodic concentration, providing some genuine sit-up-and-clap moments among the ghostly, creepy bass-heavy vibes. "6:30 am" is one of these, with dark and mechanized, eventually lights-out guitar wail before a standard verse and compelling chorus and a truly lovely outro.
The latter half of the album is more solid: The bagpipe drone of "Back in 15 Min." leads into really inventive and moving drum and noise effects with an ambitious structure and innovative sound. It's a good opening song for a live set, exploring the best that the band has to offer while promising more delights to come. "Waiting for the Punch Line" is an excellently-constructed math-rock tune, with a nod to Styx and similarly operatic early techno sounds, while the fantastically evocative vocal harmonics of "Vitamin C" get to the heart of the song and the band: staggered bass and drumkit celebrations of creepy moments at the top of the stairs. The delicate and meandering exit music of "Take a Number" leads beautifully into the rolling and grand construction of "Faceless," a standout track; while the final track, the spare and compelling "Nothing," ends the album on a beautiful high note.
Recommended, and no doubt amazing live.
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