The Beloved

Where It Is

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The Beloved try hard -- way too hard -- to mimic their idols from Manchester, England, on Where It Is. The group's role models aren't difficult to guess; after all, they spend much of the time on Where It Is using New Order's "Dreams Never End" as a blueprint. The opening track, "A Hundred Words," gives it away: a sinister bassline and icy vocals propel a cold, mechanical beat. However, at least "A Hundred Words" has hooks; the rest of Where It Is suffers from the same problem that plagues most imitators of New Order and their earlier incarnation, Joy Division -- plenty of atmosphere but no memorable songs. The Joy Division guitar drone and Jon Marsh's depressed singing on "Slow Drowning" can't sustain interest. The band borrows the Cure's Pornography-era funereal percussion on "Slow Drowning" and "In Trouble and Shame" and fails at making an emotional impact. Marsh even sounds somewhat like Nick Cave on "In Trouble and Shame"; however, he's nowhere near as disturbing. It's easy to compare the Beloved on Where It Is to other artists because their influences are so obvious. Ironically, one group Where It Is isn't reminiscent of is the Beloved. By their second full-length, the vastly superior Happiness, the Beloved had shed the gothic gloss for pure pop. Where It Is should be viewed as an awkward first step; the band got much better after it.

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