Album Review: The Internet - "Self Titled"

Review by Dan Nightingale

The Internet (from Santa Barbara, California, not the shorted lived Halifax based project of the same name) have released their debut EP, which is untitled and consists mostly of a small picture and a band camp website. For a band called The Internet, this is perfectly acceptable, if impossible to Google. In fact I almost like the new nothingness that most albums today comprise of. There's only the music, in a pure digital format. There's no tape to unravel in the stereo, there's no gate fold, there's no case to crack when you accidentally roll the car seat back over it.

The sound of The Internet feels like a combination of modern indie rock and sun soaked classic classic California pop ala the Beach Boys. Reverby guitar squiggles jump in and out amongst washy lyrics. There are plenty of layers at work but they all sound a little lofi – digital sounding guitars betray the mildly retro vib, but when it's over done on purpose like the vocals in the second half of “Pretty Please” it just works. Other times, like the flat DI'd bass sound of the same track, seem discontinuous.

“Spaceships” seems to be an odd mix of slowed down, heavy 90's style guitar riffing and grooving drones ala Boredoms. I'm not quite sure what to make of this track, as it sets itself up for a long, marching drone pop song but it never really takes me anywhere through it's repetition, which good drone beat music should do, ala the Velvet Underground. It should lull you into that static sort of coma where the beat starts changing in your head, like staring at clouds or the pattern on the bathroom tile. Instead a great vocal and guitar line is interrupted by a stumbling drum roll, and the track never seems to recover.

“Silly Otter” veers off into some Grateful Dead type guitar riffing, with great lyrics like “Thought that I was high/ Cuz I saw a mermaid” and a funky beach sound complete with bass slides. It's a short track with a lyrical twist at the end, but I'm glad it ends when it does – a lesser band might have tried to pull this song into a 12 minute jam and I might have had to poke holes in my speakers had that been the case.

Fortunately the EP finishes off with “What you Think”, probably my favorite track of the album. It starts off with lots of catchy guitar and drum layers and just keeps piling them on top of one another. By the time the vocals come in you're surrounded by drum tracks and guitars and percussion all around. Even though the vocal tone is sort of childish, the harmonies are nice and when the band admits they can't make a part a perfect vocal work they throw in the old lofi 'only mids' effect instead of trying to fake it. I really appreciate this and it makes the full sounding vocal parts that much better by contrast.

The fade out drum beat is almost Tortoise like and I find myself wishing for a longer fade just to hear it repeat a few more times. Overall the album is catchy and fun and there seems to be a lot of potential amongst all the musicians. The songwriting is a little juvenile but there's enough talent there that you can take them seriously, and I think the band will get more comfortable and start to write longer songs and start to find their own sound. I really do think the last 50 seconds or so of the record really exemplify what I hear this band perfecting – the drum beat is perfect and a great guitar solo perfectly sums up a fading California sunset. It seems silly but I really did listen to the last minute of the last song about 4 or 5 times. I look forward to hearing more from these guys and with a more mature sound on their next record I could see them becoming more than just the Internet and having some success in the Real Life.


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