steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

review
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info opinion

Unknown Component

"In Direct Communication" CD

self-released

Genre: lo-fi, rock

Sep 9 2008

I don't know what Unknown Component lies hidden in these ten songs, but it certainly isn't quality. Being an indie reviewer, I can forgive - even embrace - the lo-fi production values involved in these ten songs. But when combined with bland songwriting and miserable vocals, In Direct Communication just comes out flat.

Step one for sole band member Keith Lynch: hire a singer. He's got an insidious, gruff little moan that is equal parts Raine Maida and Billie Joe Armstrong, except without either frontman's personality or guile. It is at odds with the other instruments, sounding incompatible with the songs and frequently too low in the mix. This becomes especially pronounced in the louder, rock-heavy moments of the record, as on the peaks of "Identifying Interpretation" and "Into the Sun."

Regardless, there is a catchy quality to these songs that comes out despite the music's shortcomings. "It's a Fine Line" is undeniably infectious, if blandly grungy, and "Retrospectively Speaking" is downright hummable. On the other hand, sonic turds like "Between Guilt and Relief" and "Somewhere a Light Has Gone Out" have nothing to recommend about them. And sadly, it is these musical missteps that happen to comprise the majority of In Direct Communication.

I find it hard to believe that this album was considered by Lynch to be a polished release. On certain songs, he demonstrates his ability to shoot off a decent pop hook yet quite miserably, these moments are overshadowed by an abundance of less-than-successful songs. Add to that Unknown Component's bland sound and obvious vocal limitations, and you have a songwriter that needs to consider a full re-tool. Or a career change. Sorry, dude.

unknown component's myspace

50%

youuuuuuuutube!: "between guilt and relief" video, "on your mind" video

Justin Coccyx

[Vitals: 10 tracks, 38 minutes, distributed by the band, released Sep. 16, 2008]