Melodious acoustic guitar combined with a distorted electronic beat and occasional uncomplicated, harmonious keys - seems, as an experimental idea, somewhat welcoming. Different fields blended into one single experiment is an intriguing theory in any art. The snag is, with D.O.F.'s album, there is no experimentation, no individuality and above all it is, in simple terms, a poorly executed idea.
Ten out of the eleven tracks on this album open in a completely uniform style. A repetitive, mellow guitar which after four bars is followed by the customary electronic beat, which floats in and out of invariable distortions and tediously logical glitches. The beat splutters and splurts throughout the track and then the album digresses onto the next track of pretty much the same drag. Sadly, what leaps to mind is the ABBA of the electronics world.
In their defence, the last track, ‘Heartbeat of Fireflies Among Stars’ was the only track which seemed to try harder than the rest at diversity. It was sweepingly brief, but the guitar changed early on from major to minor and this tiny effort made a substantial difference to the opening. Of course it didn’t develop any further but it felt like a glass of water after a blindfolded marathon run along one straight road.
Ridiculously simple and a total lack of thought for where and how the electronics movement can be stretched and manipulated. It does not transport you on any form of distinctive journey; it doesn’t dare to deviate from the first few lines of the first track and it feels like an abuse of our generations capabilities and accomplishments, in our era of music and machines. The fact that each track is simple is not a good thing here. There is no layering of simplicity, no beauty in texture, merely a vacant shell of people thinking electronic music is this simple to create.
The faintly differing guitars could be ‘pretty’ but the distinct lack of attention to getting the beat and guitar to clash, compliment or even stimulate each other makes the music void and lax. I wanna hear some starkness, some edges to the melodies, but it was all farcically bland.
As a mirror to the music we have the track names, such as, ‘Two Times Two Equals Five is Such a Charming Concept’ and ‘As a Result, I Can Sleep Better at Night’_. It’s shallow pretension. With acts like the Icelandic Múm you find track titles like this yet you are transported to their destinations due to the expertise of the music. This, however, is empty and naive.
It is infuriating when musicians are given a chance to be progressive and don’t try to understand or develop it. This is a movement of simplicity challenged by the immense complexity of the instrument and D.O.F. have not explored this concept. It would seem they have heard some bleeps, they have heard acoustic guitars and feel they have stumbled upon something unique, passing over actually working on the music itself.
3Sophie Hilton's Score