One Little Light Year

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It's difficult to evaluate the alternative rock of the '90s, 2000s, and early 2010s without using the word "introspective" at some point because introspection has been a big part of so much post-'80s alternative rock. From shoegazers to post-grunge bands to singer/songwriters, introspection has been inescapable in a post-Kurt Cobain rock world. Tangents' One Little Light Year operates on the Brit-pop side of alternative pop/rock, and there is no shortage of introspection on this 2010 release. Combine all that introspection with a melancholy outlook, and you have a CD that will never be mistaken for party music. Tangents are an American band, although they have a very British sound along the lines of Radiohead, Ocean Colour Scene, and Coldplay; plus, there are elements of Pink Floyd in their prog-tinged Brit-pop. Now, here's where things get really surprising: Tangents includes drummer Derek Kerswill of Unearth fame (the other half of the duo is singer Dave Witham, who plays guitar, bass, and keyboards). For the uninitiated, Unearth are a metalcore band from Boston; their forte is a vicious, clobbering, brutally dense blend of metal and hardcore, and Unearth aren't exactly known for being compared to Radiohead, Coldplay, or Ocean Colour Scene. Tangents, on the other hand, most definitely do have a Brit-pop orientation -- and One Little Light Year doesn't sound anything at all like Unearth. Kerswill's work with Unearth doesn't carry over a bit to "Nothing Left Undone," "Static," or any of the other songs on One Little Light Year. This album, which isn't even screamo, is most definitely a stylistic departure for Kerswill -- a huge one -- and it's a worthwhile stylistic departure because the material, although not mind-blowing, is generally decent. It should be interesting to keep an eye on Tangents and see what develops.

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