The Black Swan Effect


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A collaboration between longtime friends Dominic Greensmith (the drummer for Glastonbury Brit-poppers Reef) and singer/songwriter Gareth Hale, Admission (and the Black Swan Effect) grew out of scoring sessions for a documentary directed by Greensmith's wife, Heidi. Steeped in the overcast alt-rock of OK Computer-era Radiohead, the wounded midnight rock & roll posturing of Jeff Buckley, and the propulsive swagger of Kings of Leon, the group's Real World Records debut (Peter Gabriel signed them after hearing an early demo) has atmosphere to spare, and while it may be a bit too beholden to its influences to turn heads more than a few degrees, it bristles with enough nervy energy and musical acumen to possibly pull in fans of modern day mood-casters like Alt-J, Everything Everything, and the the xx. Front-loaded with its three best pieces, the brooding and elliptical "Falling Down," the shimmering, radio-ready "In the City," and the meaty, bottom-heavy "Come Home," Admission works best when it's mining the Radiohead/Elbow side of the late '90s, but it runs into trouble when tackling less cerebral, post-grunge territory. Late album cuts like the turgid "Lady Grace" and "Saintly Sinner," the bluesy and bland "Pretty Things," and, to a lesser extent, the communal bongo and acoustic guitar-led closer "Please," the latter of which sounds like a smoke-fueled, late-night impromptu Black Crowes jam, feel stilted and rushed, like they were constructed by committee (musically) or a template word game (lyrically), suggesting that Admission may have been more effective had it been unleashed in EP form, allowing the time for some of its lesser ideas to percolate.

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