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Populous - Queue For Love

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Artist: Populous

Album: Queue For Love

Label: Morr Music

Review date: May. 31, 2005

Just like Styrofoam, the Go Find, and other members of the Morr Music roster, Populous is just one guy, Andrea Mangia, and his debut album, Queue for Love, was composed on his personal computer. The similarities with his labelmates do not end there. Just like other members of the Morr Music roster, Mangia favors extremely poppy electronic arrangements – high-register keyboard samples abound. Mangia diverges from them ever so slightly, however, by turning up the bass and thus making a hesitant nod towards hip hop. (Although it’s worth noting that this isn’t as big a divergence as it could have been, as the Notwist have just released 13 & God, a full-length collaboration with members of the Anticon collective.) While Queue for Love shows promise, and its central idea of exploring the overlap between hip hop and European electro-pop is at least abstractly an intriguing one, it’s a pretty bland affair. It’s more tepid than the best hip hop, and more repetitive and underdeveloped than the best Morr has to offer.

Perhaps the problem with Queue for Love is that it consists of one great single and eleven songs that, at least by comparison, fail to make much of an impression. “My Winter Vacation,” featuring Dose One from Themselves, displays everything that makes this style appealing. Amidst a wash of ambient samples and subtle shifts in melody, Mangia takes a single verse from Dose One and then dismantles it over the course of four minutes. Gradually, he draws the vocals further and further into the background, and builds a catchy, oft-repeated chorus from the baffling line, “I took a trip down to paradise – oh man, it’s a parasite.” It probably sounds better through headphones than it would on the dance floor, but it’s a successful hybrid nonetheless.

The remaining instrumental tracks tend to run together, the superficial melodic similarities reinforced by loping, languid beats. “Bunco,” the fourth track on Queue for Love sets the pattern for what’s to come, right down to the attempts at texture that merely make the song sound as though it’s being played through a blown-out speaker.

Ultimately, after listening to the procession of slow songs and the familiar blend of samples, it’s all just a little too boring. And that’s frustrating, since the basic idea holds so much promise.

By Tom Zimpleman

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