The band formerly known simply as Aberdeen returns with the retooled nameplate Aberdeen City and an EP of sonically nuanced modern rock influenced heavily by things like Radiohead and the noisy wash of the dream pop movement. Lead guy Brad Parker sounds exactly -- exactly -- like Thom Yorke on openers "Protagonist" and "Empty Roof." Still, to so completely replicate the famously pale singer's range and squishy wail is no easy feat, so Parker deserves points. Musically, Aberdeen City does a good job with its guitar tones and electronics throughout We Learned by Watching, even if the results aren't particularly unique. "Naysayer" weaves some wildly different sounds between production trickery and the usual quiet-loud dynamic, "Popular Music" adds a bit of Spacehog-ish glammy bounce into the mix, while "In the Shadows" is all hazy, atmospheric detachment. In the end, We Learned by Watching is more notable for its production and ambition than its songcraft. However, there's plenty here to work with, and Aberdeen City should be able to hammer out a more unique signature soon enough.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus