Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Strange Education

Posted on Thu, Mar 22, 2007 at 4:00 AM

A Strange Education
Label: TVT
Length: LP
Rated: NONE
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Strange Education, A
The Scots may be known for their love of drink, but in the case of the Cinematics, their affections can also stray toward dark pop (and most likely, being good Scots, a few rounds to go alongside it). There's no mistaking the Glasgow quartet's '80s new wave Brit influence on their debut, A Strange Education, both musically and lyrically ('I like my loneliness and the thoughts it brings/The darkness can sometimes be a pleasure to me,â?� vocalist/guitarist Scott Rinning deadpans on 'Breakâ?�). Yet based on this effort, one would mistake them for an established act with years of melancholy built up, when in fact the band formed in 2003. Rinning unveils a vocal swagger not unlike that of Suede's Brett Anderson on 'Asleep at the Wheel,â?� and accents the acoustic hidden track 'Homeâ?� with the highs of Chris Martin (Coldplay), all while heading down a road of despair that sees no relief. 'Race to the Cityâ?� almost comes across as a lost Interpol track (an impression perhaps influenced by the skinny tie Rinning dons on the album's inside sleeve). 'Chaseâ?� offers uptempo pop bravado that could land a spot on any FM station (even a dreadful AOR one), while 'Humanâ?� traverses dark corridors with Adam Goemans' bellowing bass lines. Despite the Cinematics' dark overtones, they manage to inject life into their rendition of Beck's 'Sunday Sunâ?� through cascades of reverberating guitars and vivid melodies. That Strange Education is such a sad listen is not necessarily a bad thing. Neither is having Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, Blur, New Order) onboard as producer to amplify the '80s element. The Cinematics are an up-and-coming act that combines the best that past generations popularized and revives it as a fresh package.



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