- by Steve Ricciutti Rating:5 Release Date:2016-09-16 Label: Thrill Jockey
Promises, the newest EP offering from Entrance, a three piece put together by Guy Blakeslee, is a quartet of songs intended to have some spiritual message but which come across as knee-jerk poetic observations instead.
The music is largely orchestral, oft-keyboard driven pieces, rife with plenty of augmentation in the form of angelic choruses and a variety of instrumental accents, all in the service of creating chill, empty anthems that reek of generic pop banality. These problems are horribly exacerbated by the gawd-awful lyrics. Maybe I’m just a cynical prick, but this stuff is so saccharine and psycho-pop superficial that it’s impossible for me to focus on anything other than the words. If I gave a fuck, I’d want to conduct a search of Guy’s home to uncover all the worn notebooks he stole from the lockers of high school freshmen in order to find the true source of his lyrics.
The title track’s “promise,” pleaded over a trite melody culled from countless drama soundtracks states, “I promised myself by the light of the moon, I’m going to change my life, I’m going to change my tune.” Let’s add in, “I want to go back to before I was born to see who I was without any form.” Songs like this should come out of musical fortune cookies; they’re as devoid of taste as they are puddle-deep.
Flamenco-ish follow-up “Answer Within,” (seriously, even the title is silly), reminds us that the solutions to life’s many mysteries aren’t found anywhere but, well, you know (“…you’re looking on the wrong side of your skin, you’re gonna have to find the answers within”). Just in case you didn’t get it, here’s the gist, “You’re gonna have to change your heart. You’re gonna have to change your mind. You’re gonna have to start right now if you’re gonna look to take your time.” Make a note.
“Waking Up” and “Make Believe” close things out for roughly fifteen minutes of the same stale stuff with such bumper sticker-worthy philosophies as, “All that ever was and all that will be is a fragment of a mystery,” “All that can be known and all that can be seen is only a fragment of a dream,” and this beauty, “Just click you heels and hold on to your dreams.” Uh-huh. You read that right.
Remember that Gary Jules cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” from a few years ago? It was sweet if a bit maudlin but got under my skin just the same. Now, imagine four of those painfully earnest numbers, albeit lamer, sillier, and far more pretentious. Getting under my skin takes on a whole new meaning with this effort. Promises would make a great gift for those who tattoo one-line philosophies on their arm in case they forget just how profound they think they are.