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 Wonderful Debuts Never Matched

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The DaddyO 44
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Registration date : 2011-04-07

PostSubject: Wonderful Debuts Never Matched   Sat 24 Mar 2012, 12:15

Some bands/artists seem to appear out of nowhere with a debut album so accomplished that one can only assume they have spent their entire life up to that point writing/composing/trimming/honing it to perfection, only to tread the remainder of their career dismally failing to match it. I'm sure everyone here can think of atleast one of these to sound off about.........

I'll begin with the band that prompted me to start this thread - Turin Brakes.
I bought 'The Optimist LP' shortly after it's release in 2001, simply because at that time I was bang into the whole acoustic-softrock thing (Travis/early Coldplay/Beck's Mutations etc), and I'd read a couple of encouraging reviews. I wasn't disappointed - even though a bulk of the record is made up of tracks previously released on independent eps, the whole thing hangs together stunningly - brilliant, beautiful, addictive songs like Simon & Garfunkel re-imagined for the 21st century.
The follow-up 'Ether Song' in 2003 was bland and over-produced (by Tony Hoffer to whom they relinquished far too much creative control and even song-selection), 'Jackinabox' (2005) is, to it's credit, a more homemade affair but lacks the real inspirational spark and loveable songs of the debut. As for their last two albums the less said the better.

While I'm at it how about Engineers??
Their first album simply called 'Engineers' (2005) is still one of my faves. Slow-paced, dreamy-yet-powerful, highly melodic shoegazing. Thoroughly consistent throughout it's 49 minutes. It never fails to transport me even now.
The second 'Three Fact Fader' however, which took a full 4 years to emerge, isn't a bad album, but just doesn't gel in the same way. I know there were line-up changes which can't have helped matters; it's overlong by 2 or 3 songs for a start, there are a few undeniable duffers, poor sequencing, and somehow the production just doesn't work this time round.
Their third (and most recent) is 'In Praise Of More' (2010) which ironically gives us less - in terms of playing time atleast: 9 tracks in about 38 minutes. There are some beautifully crafted melodies, but the whole thing is ruined by truly naff drum programming throughout - get a drummer!!!. The addition in the line-up of Ulrich Schnauss (blurry euro dreampop producer) becomes a bit of a double-edged sword too, the whole affair feels like middle-aged also-rans with little to say and past their sell-by date.

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