So This Is Goodbye involves no input and no apparent residual fingerprints from original member Johnny Dark. On their second album, Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus depart completely from 2-step and late-'90s Timbaland twitter, polishing their sound to such an extent that absolutely no detectable scuffs are left. Improbably enough, the thematic springboard for the album appears to be "When No One Cares," a Frank Sinatra cover that flickers and hisses like a malfunctioning neon sign. Greenspan, whose vocal ability has improved remarkably, puts a typically fragile spin on the Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen composition, though you can picture him on the brink of cracking up at the thought of this insufferable, pitiful character -- this underscores a semi-subliminal undercurrent of self-deprecation that carries through most of the album. Fragments of lyrics from the song inspire "Count Souvenirs" and "Like a Child," two other cases where Greenspan croons as if he were leaning against a bank of synthesizers, tie undone and hair disheveled, on-stage at the Sands' Copa Room. (Rest assured, Taco this ain't.) Over half the album consists of slowly unfurling material that projects a cool sense of comfort, as if Chicago house pioneers Larry Heard and Frankie Knuckles were brought in to transform jubilant Italo-disco and foppish synth pop into downcast club tracks and creeping torch songs. The placid grace of the album is interrupted only by the crunchy snap of "In the Morning" -- the only song that breaks a sweat -- which makes like a non-album single plopped in the middle of the album for no good reason (à la those old CD issues of the XTC catalog that slapped the bonus tracks in the middle, rather than at the end). Otherwise, this is a make-out album destined to be played most often by loners who, for whatever reason (a crippling breakup, a fear of human contact, the snowman melted, etc.), are only able to commit the act in their minds.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman