Slip on Preaching to the Fire, the second album by the Great Depression, and those who were there at the time will be instantly transported back to the late '80s, specifically that portion reflected by MTV's 120 Minutes and late-night college radio. Pre-Nirvana alternative rock is the order of the day here, as exemplified by folks like My Bloody Valentine, the the Ocean Blue, and Lush; swells of heavily reverbed guitar eddy and swirl under Todd Casper's low-key, diffident vocals as synths and electronic drums decorate the songs with Stone Roses-style echoes of Madchester. It's no surprise at all that U.K. indie stalwart Fire Records -- home of the Television Personalities and the Close Lobsters -- released this album. Casper and his partner in jangly nostalgia, Tom Cranley, have such obvious affection for this sound that it would be impossible for anyone with fond memories of the Blue Aeroplanes to dislike Preaching to the Fire, so it seems like the album title is meant as a self-deprecating play on words. The problem is that Casper and Cranley, as songwriters, are less like the the Go-Betweens and more like pleasant but undistinguished second-raters like the Railway Children. Songs like the twinkly-drony "The Telekinetic" and "Lux" sound great on a superficial listen, but shimmer off into fog upon closer attention. Only the cool, Felt-like "Make Way for Nostalgia" (more self-deprecation?) has the melodic strength to rise above enjoyable wispiness.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason