Monday, September 21, 2009

Styrofoam - Nothing's Lost (2004)

On May 5th, 2007, Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Seattle band Death Cab for Cutie played a solo show at The 9:30 Club in our nation's capital. At one point in the set, he spoke of how a few years back, he collaborated with a guy named Arne, and proceeded to perform a song which he described as "an open letter." Intrigued by the lyrics, I went home and looked them up. The aforementioned "Arne" was in fact Arne Van Petegem, a Belgian electronic musician otherwise known as Styrofoam. The "open letter" was the song "Couches in Alleys," a song from Styrofoam's album "Nothing's Lost" the subject said song is one of Gibbard's biggest influences, Jack Kerouac. In it, Gibbard opens with, "Hey Jack, it's me. I don't mean to bother you, but something's been on my mind," and confides in the late author, "I know your demise, and I fear what will happen when the road fails to flow under me." The lyrics, while soul-baring and vulnerably honest, are really only words (poetic as they are), which do not become a proper song until merged with the indietronic bliss of Van Petegem's music. This album, which features other wonderful guest vocalists such as Andrew Kenny (The American Analog Set, The Wooden Birds), Valerie Trebeljahr (Lali Puna) on the tracks "Front to Back" and "Misguided," respectively, is a glitchy, harmony-filled, synth-laden delight. It should be noted however, that its title is a bit misleading. You see, the name of the record is "Nothing's Lost," but this simply isn't true, as it is the listener who becomes lost in the rush of sound that comes billowing forth from this 2004 release.

For fans of: Dntel, Telefon Tel Aviv, The Postal Service


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