Artist: School of Seven Bells
Album: Disconnect from Desire
Critic: Daniel Yates
Publication: Drowned in Sound, 2010
Writing Disorders: Jargon Palsy, Idea Fever, Toxic Tedium
Critic Jargon: “fugitive alt-pop cosmopolitanism,” “theological reversal of postmodernity,” “sub-Haackish flourishes”
Most Emo Phrase: “Like someone you previously adored becoming an embarrassing pastiche of themselves”
Daniel…unless you’re traveling tonight on a plane, I’m just going to call you Dan. Let’s talk about your review, Dan. I got through the last line and saw that you challenged a heckler to “do a RipFork.” Well, hopefully I beat him to the punch, but bear in mind that I seldom indulge folk who ask to be lampooned on my site. A dude petitioning for a beating knows how he could avoid it in the first place. Sometimes it’s as easy as just not writing like a complete putz.
I’ve got beef with your review, Dan, and it goes a little like this. Anyone these days can write how he thinks Twin Peaks defines a band’s sophomore failure. And if that budding genius writes for a certain music zine, he’s got clout on aggregators regardless of how poorly he writes. Let’s say for a moment Metacritic lumps you in with only five other neurotic children who decided to write reviews of a band’s album. What’s the moral of that story? Since bands can’t appeal a critic’s terrible writing, they should just hope they find the good side of his 3rd-person anal retention? To me that’s a crappy trade for a lot of hard work.
Before you prep a lecture on how people should pay attention to writing and not numbers, I agree. But writing’s not your strong suit, Dan. If you’re gonna whitewash musicians, get to the point at least. Need some help? How about mentioning the band before the 250-word mark for starters? Even if you couldn’t bear to whittle down your examples of jukeboxes in globalism, you could have at least shaved some bush off the mound by getting rid of clumsy modifiers like “naïf-fatale” or “hauntological.”
I’m gonna skip how you shoehorned this band into ridiculous subgroups, Darkwave Duck, since I’d rather focus on your refusal to trim your thoughts. You really could have snipped the fat off most of your sentences and left readers none the poorer. I’ll even do the honors in this example from your fourth paragraph:
“That reinvocation of shoegazing that seemed to add new layers of promise to the template, and which made ‘Face To Face On High Places’ as close to a new bubblegum MBV track as we might dare to hope for, has now degraded.”
If you’re blubbering about the tragic loss of the pivotal My Bloody Valentine reference, calm down. I know you probably see editing as shooting a beloved puppy in the head, but judging from the comments on your review, few people even made it far enough to pass judgment:
“Why do DiS writers take so effing long to make any sort of point in their reviews?”
“couldn’t get past the first paragraph of this”
“I got past the first paragraph, but couldn’t get halfway through the second.”
Dan, I’m going to give my readers a little perspective here. Sometimes I like to show the kind of man who kicks aside clarity so he can make space for his own postmodern choad. Let’s see your game face.
Yikes. I’m sure School of Seven Bells are feeling lucky such men exist to niggle the album they spent months writing and recording. Must feel swell knowing their labors played second fiddle to the clunky musings of a bearded weirdo stoned out of his gourd.
Your review really needs to be seen to believe, and since there’s only so much I can cover, let’s end with your brilliant closing, Dan. What sums this album up best in your mind?
“Slightly lost and, sadly, all too findable.”
HOLY COW, that’s deep. It’s like lost…but not really! Damn, how long did you take pinching out that twig? I don’t think I can touch the insight radiating off of that miracle of words, but I’ll try my hand. Barring the risk of getting Latin thrown at me for saying so, you look like a creepy milkman from the lip up.