the absent sounds of me
Artist: Dear Ephesus
Length: 13 tracks / 54:15 minutes
Dear Ephesus' debut The Consolation of Pianissimo was released
to mixed opinions. While there were plenty of people who enjoyed it, the
album seemed to strike a bad note with many indie rock fans, who saw the
band as passing themselves off falsely as "emo" or who simply disliked
Aaron Weiderspahn's vocals.
For me, this follow-up release is both a step forward and one backward.
The band feel more confident and show growth in their arrangements and
songwriting, but the mix is rather muddier than before. While that is something
that often appeals to fans of this genre, it doesn't seem to suit Dear
Ephesus quite so well; many of the intricate guitar lines are obscured,
and the vocals lack the clarity that Weiderspahn's lyrical imagery could
Weiderspahn's artistry extends beyond his music to the visual arts,
and his lyrics are probably best taken in as one would appreciate a painting,
by taking a step back and exploring the whole before considering each individual
phrase. The sum of these parts is in a way impressionist, as a blur of
images is presented which together suggest scenes and emotions. Those scenes
and emotions are clearly painted on the backdrop of a disaffected, postmodern
society, and it is the observation of this society and his own place within
it that dominates Weiderspahn's lyrics.
The music is probably best described as "not quite emo." There are
certainly guitar lines which are more carefully textured and intricately
played than in a lot of modern rock, and the vocals convey a great deal
of emotion, but the mix is still brighter and cleaner than that favoured
by Sunny Day Real Estate and company.
One of the strongest releases in its genre to emerge on a Christian
label, this album still falls a little short of the production standard
that would really make it a gem. Nevertheless, this will make a fine accompaniment
for those who enjoyed Dear Ephesus' debut.
James Stewart (5/12/99)