steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Why Even Bother" CD

Series Two Records

Genre: lo-fi, indie pop, twee


Feb 23, 2009

You know that buzzing sound that occurs when your cellphone gets a transmission when it's too close to your computer speakers? Swedish multi-instrumentalist Tafra builds the first song on Why Even Bother, “Cheesy Epic View,” around that sound. How cool is that?

With that in mind, Tafra's nifty little album is a decidedly lo-fi pop romp, replete with electronic drum beats, acoustic guitars, and melodic synths. On “At the Cemetery” and “I Wrote a Song...” he designs swift little electro-twee nuggets – marshmallowy dream puffs of sound that are unspectacular yet solid empty calories nonetheless. Meanwhile, he exhibits Go-Betweens influences on excellent “Why Do You Have to Be So Complicated Baby” and infectious “Oh Daniel.” Why Even Bother has several interesting nuggets, although it is also somewhat inconsistent. “Dear Satan” is a bland drudge, and “Your Ex-Boyfriend MP3's,” a coy techno experiment surprisingly reminiscent of Dubnobasswithmyheadman-era Underworld could have used better execution. Tafra's verbose confessional style – as well as his singing voice - is seemingly influenced by Magnetic Fields' work (think 69 Love Songs – mandolin and all), although his songs tend to be more simplistic and his lyrics involve less wordplay. Still, this intriguing lo-fi disc is a worthwhile journey into Niklas Tafra's world of personal bedroom pop.

tafra's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]