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ALBUM REVIEW - ALL THE SAINTS 'INTRO TO FRACTIONS'

There are 12 tracks on All the Saints’ January 2012 release ‘Intro to Fractions’ – which sounds more like the title of a chapter in your math textbook than a shoegaze album.

Yet, the waves that are stretched in the first few songs leave you lost, and before you know it, the album is over. This would vex any music critic, but I can tell you that did not happen to me on just the first listen. ‘Intro to Fractions’ seems to flow seamlessly, in fact, too seamlessly. Filler tracks such as 4H Trip and Sunk Hill sound like shorter variations of Host or Buster.
 
Then again, the band makes it count on the fuzz-filled lead single Half Red, Half Way. Jim Crook’s work behind the kit deserves special mention, because without him, Alteration wouldn’t be that close to a rock eruption. EiO and Preachy follow each other, with catchy drumming set to some harsh strumming and sinister leads from guitarist/singer Matt Lambert, who layers his riffs as much as possible. Danger Flowers seems to be everything that is anti-filler. It is 13 seconds thrown in between songs to make listeners guess believe there’s an incomplete song encrypted between all the walls of sound.
 
The eponymous track (with a number added next to it, just so that it’s not so eponymous) tries to be as pop as possible, with heavy use of chorus. The rest of the album is as much punk as it is shoegaze. When psychedelic punk and indie meet, there’s a limitless sonic potential, and All the Saints take due note of it. ‘Intro to Fractions’ is weak in patches and doesn’t succeed as a whole. The delayed, reverberated tones are certainly worthy, but the vocals seem unoriginal at times. The former redeems the latter, especially on PolyDaughters, which is a delightful work of spaced-out-indie-in-the-vein of Tame Impala and Deerhunter.
 
Returning to the seamlessness of the album, I would say the sound of ‘Intro to Fractions’ is like a battle to break out of the monotony that sets in fairly early in the track list.
 
'Intro To Fractions' is out now on Soutterrain Transmissions.
 
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Review - Anurag Tagat
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