The Meeting Places

Find Yourself Along the Way

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There's shoegaze and there's rotegaze, where all one needs are some guitar pedals and a vague sense of atmosphere rather than anything specifically memorable. On their debut the Meeting Places tread a bit of a fine line between the two camps -- the bandmembers push the buttons for those who worship in the wake of Creation Records 1991 right from the start, but it doesn't always result in something truly striking. Like fellow American gaze types Bethany Curve and the Autumns, though, when they do put all the pieces together they end up with something that is never less than evocatively moody. If the songs alter little between slightly faster paced ("On Our Own," "Blur the Lines") and slightly slower paced ("Freeze Our Stares," "Where You Go"), the band's best strength is a good sense of arranging. The cool, acoustic guitar/bass bed of "See Through You" and the stripped-down start of "Where You Go" show that for the band less can often be more, carrying the feeling without digital delay just as easily as with. Drummer Dean Yoshihara isn't a revelation per se, but like underrated Boo Radleys drummer Rob Cjeka he can and does try a variety of different things -- check the subtle time shifts on "Now I Know You Could Never Be the One" for an example. Still, when the introduction to a song like "Wide Awake" sounds just like a song from earlier on the album and when by the end most of the guitars have resolutely stuck to a shimmery drifty midrange with occasional cascades, something needs to give -- maybe next time around.

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