Reviews The Narrator All that to the Wall

The Narrator

All that to the Wall

It’s safe to say that indie music is the new “pop” and bands like Bloc Party and Arcade Fire have gained a considerable amount of success taking advantage of the genre’s newfound appeal. The irony of course is that the very definition of “indie” clashes with what the style means today, and its popularity created over saturation. Thus, less than exemplary acts are weeded out in Darwinian fashion. The following is a journey through the arctic, a cold, mediocre path towards indie music plainness. Unfortunately Morgan Freeman can’t guide us along on this voyage with his wonderful narration, but there is a suitable replacement in Chicago’s The Narrator.

All that to the Wall isn't really a fitting title for the album because its overall tone suggests the opposite, emitting a rather pedestrian vibe that just barely overcomes its unoriginality by finding a simple focus. Other reviews of the album say that its endearing quality is in its lack of ambition. Although this can be agreed upon, and there certainly are bright moments, sadly The Narrator’s lackadaisical style isn’t engaging enough to warrant repeat listens. Those aforementioned bright points are sprinkled throughout like old photographs you happen upon while unpacking boxes in a new house. These songs can be surprisingly pleasant and a welcome contrast to some of the other less notable songs. “Papal Airways” and “Breaking the Turtle” are highlights because of their simple, upbeat guitar riffs and their infectious rhythms. Both start out soft and build into truly enjoyable songs. “A Decade in Kentucky” mimics the formula of “Breaking the Turtle” but mixes it up with some distortion and clean, female back-up vocals.

Come to think of it, the album is at its strongest in the second half. Think of it as a lemon flavored Tootsie Pop, although it takes a lot of licks, the center was kind of worth it. All that to the Wall is an attempt at recreating the do-it-yourself spark that indie used to have but The Narrator just make decent music without doing anything truly remarkable. It’s engaging towards the end, but the beginning is so lazily put together that it’s hard to want to come back for more. That being said, it’s still worth a listen to those who fancy the genre.

7.0 / 10Ryan M
See also
Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, Tight Pants, And Even Tighter Shirts
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
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7.0 / 10

7.0 / 10

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