Rope, Inc.

Songs of Love and War

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Songs of Love and War has been described as a combination of Beck and '70s-era Brian Eno, and that is not an inaccurate description of the ambient-minded alternative pop/rock/art rock that Rope, Inc. provides on this 2007 release. But there are other influences as well on Songs of Love and War, which is the duo's first full-length album -- influences that include Kraftwerk, David Bowie (especially the Bowie/Eno collaborations that gave us Low, Heroes and Lodger in the late '70s), Roxy Music, Pink Floyd and '80s new wave groups like Joy Division, Spandau Ballet and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. But none of those influences are people that Rope, Inc. (an American group with a very European sound) go out of their way to emulate; this duo has an attractive personality of its own, and that personality is very unassuming. Songs of Love and War is electronica-oriented pop/rock and art rock that never rocks; rather, it floats and does so in a way that is spacey, atmospheric and sometimes ethereal. At times, Rope, Inc.'s melodies are sweetly good-natured ("Become," "Believe," "Promise"), and other times, their melodies can be darkly haunting ("Unknown," "Begin," "Strange," "Wrong"). But either way, vocalist/songwriter/musician Matt Menovcik and producer/musician Kramer (who comprise Rope, Inc.) never beat listeners over the head to get their emotional points across. Again, the word "unassuming" is applicable throughout Songs of Love and War, which is slightly uneven but has more ups than downs and is worth obtaining.

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