Ford & Lopatin Channel Pressure(Software) Buy it from Insound
Ford & Lopatin make unabashed throwback music. They gleefully reinterpret archaic sounds that don’t often appear in modern music, sounds that, to people my age (22) sound like they belong only in old commercials and eighth grade science videos. They take these sounds and add new, modern elements, and have crafted an album that somehow sounds futuristic, despite using sounds that are far from it. They’ve crafted an alternate universe, one where MIDI reigns and cheesy synths never relinquished their hold on pop music.
The album flows together incredibly well, with an overall feel that is incredibly consistent. The cohesion is owed, in part, to a lot of the songs sounding very similar. True, it holds together very well, but it also tends to blur after a while. All of the songs are good if they are actively listened to, but no more than a few command attention. The numerous instrumental interludes, while occasionally intriguing, often come off as time frittered away. They pale in comparison to the genuine songwriting talent exhibited on many of the record's longer efforts, and a lot of them feel like rushed ideas that could have been more developed. Instead of lead-ins, they become something to wait through to get to the next great song.
Songs like Break Inside, Emergency Room, and especially Too Much Midi carry the album far, and are smartly spread out evenly. Too Much Midi is undoubtedly the high point, full of intriguing melodic twists and turns. These three songs, along with the other non-interludes, are more than enough to carry Channel Pressure. The band showed similar chops on last years That We Can Play EP (released as under the name Games), and they’ve only gotten better since. They take MIDI and cheesy synths to new over-the-top heights, and they do it in the best way possible. They revel in doing it, and their passion for it comes through on almost every song.
Despite its detractors, Channel Pressure is, in the end, a positive experience. It’s kept short enough and rarely becomes tedious, even through some of the unnecessary instrumentals. It’s not one of the year’s best records, but it’s churned out a couple of its best songs. At the very least, they’ve managed to create an atmosphere that’s intriguing as it is entertaining.27 June, 2011 - 07:56 — Andrew Baer