REVIEW: THE SINGULAR – ARTIFACTS
The Singular – Artifacts. Diskette Records, 2013.
In the sake of full disclosure, I should tell you that I’m friends with a couple of members of The Singular. That said, when friends send me their music and I don’t like it, rather than be a dick about it, I just don’t review it, so SPOILER ALERT: I really like Artifacts.
I reviewed the band’s last album, The Sad Machine, a couple of years ago. I talked at length about the coldness of the instrumentation and the distance in frontman James Pequignot’s voice. On that last album, The Singular had kind of this depressed, Radiohead thing going on.
On Artifacts, Pequignot and company have shed that Radiohead thing and have emerged a much more energetic, poppy, yet at the same time introspective band. Right from the opening track, “Artifacts from Childhood Filtered Through Hindsight,” Pequignot tells us:
I found a bunch of notes I took
Holy fucking shit!
The colors and the shapes!
The world is beautiful
We just forgot to shut our mouths
and listen for a minute
There’s nostalgia here, for sure, as well as regret, but this machine is no longer sad.
On the previous album, I mentioned that there was one song, “CMF,” that, though radio friendly, seemed completely out of place. That song would be at home on Artifacts. Much of the album (when it’s not dropping F-bombs) sounds radio-friendly in a good way, like it would play on that one independent station that asks for donations and plays the good music. That’s what this album sounds like: intelligent, introspective pop music.
The highlights from this album are probably the aforementioned opening track, “Electric Chair,” and the slightly alt-country “Justy Knuff.” There’s a pretty uniform sound on this album, though, so if you like one song, you’ll probably like them all.
So yeah, The Singular’s Artifacts is a damn good album, and I’m not saying that because I’m their friend. The band seems to have found happiness, and the result is a much warmer, much more inviting recording than their previous work.