+/- {Plus/Minus}

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

+/- Review

by Stephen Cramer

James Baluyut, formerly of Versus, collaborated with musician friends in 2002 on the self-titled +/-. Produced by Baluyut, the 13-track effort is a stunning debut from the leader of one of the 1990s' most influential indie rock bands. The music is remarkably more subdued than Versus, starting with the radiant "All I Do." Baluyut's vocals are more focused and subdued than his work in Versus, resulting in a powerful and disarming set of songs. The mix of guitars and electronics blend to result in an inventive and refreshing sound on songs like "Crestfallen" and "Setting Your Head on Fire." "Queen of Detroit" serves as an ode to Baluyut's mother, while the graceful guitar work on "Beverly Road" offers him an opportunity to experiment with hypnotic acoustic chords. "Yo Yo Yo (Please Don't Fall in Love)" serves as another remarkably inventive transformation for Baluyut. His evolution from hard indie rock virtuoso to experimental indie artist is similar to Yo La Tengo's James McNew's alter-ego in Dump. In the end, it's the unusual beats, electronic sample loops, and heartfelt vocals that make the debut from +/- so impressive and unique. Margaret McCartney, formerly of Tuscadero, and Pat Ramos, ex-Versus, also appear on the disc. The album was recorded in 2001 at Beverly Manor and Union Square studios and released in early 2002 on Teenbeat Records.

blue highlight denotes track pick