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					                                              THE PROPELLERS




 By Don DiMuccio
 March 12, 2008

Startlingly wonderful.       Unusually thoughtful.         much as a movie director would use lighting to define
Exceedingly creative. Intensely passionate. These are      atmosphere within a scene.
the phrases that are meandering around my mind
while my ears are being otherwise occupied by some         To my ears the song “Crop Circles” would have been
of the very best music, local or otherwise that I’ve       an instant classic in any other decade than the one we
heard in quite a long time. With their self-titled debut   find ourselves currently trapped in. “I tried a
release, The Propellers have taken the very finest         thousand different things, I even read your diary, I’m
qualities of the “art side” of rock & roll, and            really so sorry – I tried to solve your mystery, decode
conjoined them into one cohesive thought. Though           the signals you’ve been sending me.” There is an
it’s not a concept album in the traditional sense, the     undeniable Pink Floyd influence throughout the
nine tracks do indeed contain a running thread             track, right down to the imagery that the title itself
throughout, which is an ethereal, abstract X-factor        invokes. Perhaps this is most obvious during the last
that can’t be properly defined. Speaking for just one      ten seconds of the track, where a burst of backward
moment as a songwriter / musician, with each               pianos and non-descript chirping create a rich sound
unfolding track I find myself consumed with an             collage. But that aside, this is the caliber of material
unshakable feeling of “Damn, I wish I had written          created during the hayday of competitive
that…”                                                     songwriting, when albums were works of art, not
                                                           Ipod fodder.
The disc’s kickoff “Innocent” proved to be a bit of a
red herring, when juxtaposed to the album’s ensuing        It was said once of the Beatles that within the quartet
material. The song’s quick, pseudo-new wave feel           there are no virtuosos on any of their individual
was well-served by vocalist Tom Chace’s talk-sing          instruments. Their strength comes from the sum of
style, ala Lou Reed. “I thought you were so innocent,      their parts. Much the same can be said for The
then I learned that you were a sin, so I did it again      Propellers. They are competent musicians, one and
and again and again..” In fact, The Propellers so          all. But that’s almost beside the point. They’re not
convincingly replicated that Velvet Underground            about guitar solos or drum fills. Their strength comes
vibe, I was sure that was where the record was going.      from the high level of ingenuity used in their writing
Ah, but as with all great artists, the band had many       and recordings. As with the aforementioned use of
more surprises in store for the listener and cannot be     backward recorded instruments, The Propellers
tagged with convenient labels.                             employ this and other bits of studio trickery to
                                                           categorically create that lush, rich, musical
With the second track “Colt State Park”, The               atmosphere that could easily become a signature
Propellers now bring the sounds up to a more               sound for the band. These gentlemen have done their
contemporary feel, perhaps best described in the vein      collective homework, and it’s the receivers of their
of a Ben Folds Five. The melodic, piano-driven tune        music who are going to reap the rewards above all
employs an explicit use of dynamics, varying from          else.
loud to soft in appropriate moments within the lyric,

				
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