No Wait Wait

About You

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    5
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No Wait Wait's second release on the Chairkickers' label, About You has a promising start; unfortunately, the album is ultimately done in by its warring artistic influences. At first, it sounds like About You is made up of the stuff that worked on the band's first album -- a combination of new wave synthesizers, plaintive, vibrato-shy vocals, and some vaguely mid-'90s guitar riffs. But the album quickly takes a turn for the worse with the introduction of a drum machine and some pretty awful synthesizers on "Amends." If the band is trying to emulate Radiohead on this album, it simply does not work; Marc Gartman's vocals are far too clean and earnest for that. At any rate, the rest of the album spirals downward from there. In general, the synthesizers and drum effects fall flat, the drummer sounds oddly out of synch on a couple of tracks, the love-lorn lyrics are somewhat bland, and the whole thing ends up feeling like a cake that fell in the oven. The pop sensibilities that made No Wait Wait's first album listenable are simply nonexistent on About You. It's mystifying. Guess it just goes to show that you can have all the right influences, slap together a group of proficient, if not excellent, musicians (Alan Sparhawk plays guitar on track eight), and you can still end up with a bunch of ho-hum songs. Fans of No Wait Wait's previous work will probably enjoy About You for its ambition, but everyone else would be better off sticking with the band's first album.

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