Failure

Magnified

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Magnified represents the real emergence of Failure, perhaps the best post-grunge dirge-pop band of the '90s. Shedding the sonic intrusiveness of producer/engineer Steve Albini, Failure took on the production of this effort, revealing recording and songwriting skills hidden on the band's debut of two years earlier. Songwriters Ken Andrews (guitars, vocals) and Greg Edwards (bass, drums) are joined by drummer John Dargahi (filling in on tracks Edwards probably couldn't cover on his own). This 1994 release completely eclipses Comfort with its superior songs, vocal performances, and vast dynamic. The melodies and arrangements are both simple and elegant, something like the Beatles meet Pink Floyd meets Black Sabbath meets '90s modern rock. But all comparisons fail to describe the unique results of Andrews and Edwards' precisely executed vision. Despite minimal arrangements and instrumentation, Failure uses some extraordinary lyrics and hyper-melodic riffing to create a sprawling sound that retains a profound heaviness. "Moth" and "Wonderful Life" could be considered standouts, but these songs aren't cut from a substantially different cloth than any of Magnified's other entries. Along with Failure's swansong masterpiece, Fantastic Planet (although practically unknown, a record considered by a small but extremely passionate group of followers as the post-grunge bookend to Nevermind), Magnified is one of the best records of its kind.

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