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Cause Co-Motion! - It’s Time!

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Artist: Cause Co-Motion!

Album: It’s Time!

Label: Slumberland

Review date: Nov. 14, 2008

"In the Nineties you had to be catchy and somehow ‘weird’ or sloppy," is how Alan Licht describes the dawn of the decade in "The Clintonization of Rock" (An Emotional Memoir of Martha Quinn, 2002). By trying to satisfy that dictate, Cause Co-motion! exemplify how little has changed in music in the 16 years since lo-fi became mainstream. The need for hooks has kept us engaged with rock this whole time; Licht points out that the thing about "Smells like Teen Spirit" is that it "reminds you of three or four other songs." That sense of having already known the song the second one hears it is what keeps us coming back for more.

Cause Co-Motion! clearly exist for that aching twinge of recognition. What but a fear of missing it can explain such epic Hoovering up of charming jangle? On It’s Time! one hears that they find quicksilver in the Messthetics aesthetic, but in hit-making style is a spandrel. It’s Time! is a house of cards, a long-awaited monument to the Eureka moment built on a termite-infested foundation. That these songs sound like they’re by any group of 15-year-old boys who’ve never listened to music before isn’t evidence of stalwart innocence in the face of outside catastrophe. Rather, such false naivete is the leaking cynicism of those who believe our best moments are behind us – that the past must be better than the future. The innocent believe that the world, and therefore art, can be renewed.

Licht reflects that Lo-Fi remixed the pop and DIY currents of its forebears the way Clinton had a Conservative take on Liberalism. Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls rework the same sonic territory as Cause Co-Motion!, but their interest is in its rawness rather than its bottled magic. Yet, the tiredness of this exercise as a whole, the extent to which it fails even when it succeeds, suggests that music, too, needs to stop reliving the psychodrama, fear and inward focus of the Cold War. Clinton’s election seemed to mark the end of isolation – the underground burst forth – but it was merely a respite. Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow, electro got eaten up in yet another wave of incompetent rock. Winter is over, and it’s time to figure out what, aesthetically, our generation is all about. Imagine: someone, a group of people, might come up with an entirely new mode of expression; how freaking exciting is that?! Yes, we can.

By Josie Clowney

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