Burnside Project

The Networks, the Circuits, the Streams, the Harmonies

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Electronic dance music and indie pop/rock might be hard genres to comfortably blend, but the Burnside Project make an admirable and mostly successful go of it on their first effort. Many, if not most, of these songs could have been straightforward indie pop if arranged differently, with their oddball, dislocated, impressionistic lyrics and wistful melodies. It could even be said that they're not as talented at mix-and-matching synthesized beats as they are at crafting effective mood songs. But the songs do groove to those rhythms fairly naturally, and the group, with much outside assistance, does a lot to vary the textures and meters of both the electronic percussion and the other instruments. Too, there are tracks which are just atmospheric settings with beats and vocals rather than standard songs, like "Only Ordinary." Vital humanizing elements are the haunting guest vocals of Shannon McArdle (who's heard on five cuts), though the more nonchalant singing of fellow guest Hub Moore works well too. Though the bands aren't too similar, this could appeal to fans of Stephin Merritt, as it's also electronically oriented indie pop/rock with a human face, though the Burnside Project are less ironic and distanced (and more steeped in dance music) than the electro-slanted projects of main Magnetic Fields man Merritt.

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