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I知 From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends

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Artist: I知 From Barcelona

Album: Let Me Introduce My Friends

Label: Dolores

Review date: Sep. 10, 2006

I知 from Barcelona is a 29-piece band from Jnkping, Sweden. With Let Me Introduce My Friends, the band痴 debut, they致e crafted an impressively restrained collection of indie-pop songs, considering the girth of the group; the problem is that the 11-song album is exactly 10/11ths forgettable.

Despite the size of the band, I知 from Barcelona痴 focal point is songwriter and singer Emanuel Lundgren. According to the band痴 website, Lundgren was spurred into writing 兎xplosive happy pop songs after having fallen in love with Frida ヨhnell, who now plays maracas with the band.

After Lundgren rounded up 28 friends, the newly-formed band recorded a four-song EP entitled Don稚 Give up on Your Dreams, Buddy!, which was subsequently released on EMI Sweden. It痴 at this point that the 菟opularity with bloggers narrative kicks into effect, landing the band a spot in Barcelona痴 Primavera Sound festival and encouraging the ensemble to record a full-length.

The underwhelming end result belies this new mode of musical production. None of the album痴 songs are offensively dashed-off, but all have the feeling of a band that痴 unwilling or uncomfortable moving beyond its own formal constraints. 展e池e from Barcelona is undoubtedly the band痴 strongest song, with a generous and chirpy chorus that never quite wears out its welcome. Unfortunately, the same can稚 be said for 典reehouse, which, while still one of the album痴 stronger tracks, disastrously overestimates the cleverness of its 途eturn to childhood through love conceit.

The album痴 greatest shortcoming, however, is in its overeagerness to reach catharsis. 徹la Kala opens with a flimsy little shuffle that details common themes of post-college anxiety before launching into a swoon that offers up too-easy solutions to the musical and lyrical questions posed in the verse.

It痴 this internal disjuncture that makes listening to the album a frequently enervating endeavor. The band's members contribute no small amount of creative, tasteful instrumentation; never do the songs feel overwrought or burdened by too much ambition. Unlike similarly-minded bands like Architecture in Helsinki and Broken Social Scene, they have the kind of focus that make it difficult to refer to them as a collective. Every musical intervention is so purposeful as to make the nominally experimental aspects of the aforementioned bands seem fairly outlandish and indulgent by comparison.

By this point, it can safely be said that any blog success story already contains and normalizes its own backlash. Let Me Introduce My Friends is an album produced under the pressure of hype, with all of the pleasures and shortcomings that entails.

By Brandon Bussolini

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