Will Moss’ Reviews of “Chromatics” by Diagrams and “Ancient Blue” by Golden Fable

chromaticsGolden Fable

Artists: Diagrams/Golden Fable

Albums: “Chromatics”/”Ancient Blue”

Critic: Will Moss

Publication: Drowned in Sound, 2015 / Drowned in Sound, 2014

Writing Disorders: Jargon Palsy, Detachment Syndrome




Will, in true Tumblr fashion I’m asking — no, DEMANDING — that you put trigger warnings on your music reviews. Why? Well…this is difficult, but I can’t stay silent anymore, can’t keep living in denial, not when so many survivors are still too scared to come forward. I have to speak out, for them…and for me.


Trigger Warning


You see, Will, when I read music reviews with certain trigger words, I roll my eyes so hard that sometimes they get stuck for hours. Then I’m likely to knock over lamps, trip on cords and frighten schoolchildren. But that’s not even the worst of it. When my eyes roll back, I can SEE myself mulling on those trigger words, those awful words — words like “aesthetic,” “sensibilities,” “decidedly” — words that music critics still poop out like clockwork. Well, NO LONGER.


Will, I know you’re just starting out on a long early 20s, but your writing smells like poop, fresh poop from a new larva trying to pupate into a Pitchfork critic. That breaks my heart. And since I can’t bear to see a young hunk become a really ugly butterfly, I’m going to break tradition here and reference not one but two of your reviews. These are your ONLY two reviews so far on Drowned in Sound, but they’re so similar that it can’t be just coincidence.


I have a theory why that is. I think you’re trying to emulate what you think is “good” music writing instead of going with basic human instinct not to write like a complete tool. There’s other stuff I could gripe about, like the ever-popular “Band’s last album was A, and this time they’re trying to sound like B, but the result is A-B, thus a 6/10; whereas if they’d made album A 2.0, they’d get a 6/10 for not going in a new direction.” But I’m going to focus on the reddest flag here: repeating your own jargon.


Back to those trigger words — here’s a comparison of your two reviews:


Diagrams Review:

” synth flourishes and futuristic aesthetics”


“a brilliantly playful, fresh electronic aesthetic”


Golden Fable Review:

“something of a Celtic aesthetic”


“leaving the record without the rustic aesthetic”


Diagrams Review:

“a decidedly new project with a decidedly new sound”


Golden Fable Review:

“the result is often decidedly generic”


Diagrams Review:

” channelling Tunng’s folk-sensibilities”


Golden Fable Review:

Congratulations! You didn’t use “sensibilities”…but you did misspell “channeling.”


Will, people call me a vindictive cretin who sucks at life and hates adverbs, but come on — “decidedly” is one of the weakest available to a writer. What’s lacking in the phrase: “a new project with a new sound”? Is plain-old “new” so much vaguer than “decidedly new”? Is one newer than the other, a different brand of “new”? How is “aesthetics” so dissimilar from the word “sound” in this context that it demands repeated usage? “A brilliantly playful, fresh electronic sound” or “synth flourishes and futuristic sounds” — GASP! And “sensibilities”…what, like knowing how to do something? That’s like saying “sternutation” instead of “sneezing.”


Just guessing here, Will, but I think you’ve grown up reading cold, wet prose and gotten the notion that impressing the higher-ups means proving your skill at duplicating it.


Or I could be wrong and that’s just how you write. Maybe I’m nitpicking. Heck, maybe I’m wrong and the world of music will collapse if those stuffy junk words aren’t used to describe it. Or maybe music critics are becoming obsolete so quickly with the Spotify generation that neither of us has much to worry about. Kids will find their music even as our decidedly critical aesthetic withers under their millennial sensibilities. Score.