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MARSHALL WATSON – The Time Was Later Than He Expected (Highpoint Lowlife)

Posted: January 20th, 2005, by Stuart Fowkes

Synths go plonk and beats spit and hiss on this latest release from the Highpoint Lowlife lot. It’s actually billed as being part of the ‘indie-electronic landscape’, whatever that is, and it’s certainly easy to imagine that this is the kind of electronica that fans of Tortoise’s more recent output would get on very well with, for better or for worse. By which I mean that it shares some of the traits which have been bogging down post rock over the last few years – caught up in their own composition and finding it hard to break from the self-imposed formula that keeps most of the album entrenched firmly in its own niche, the tracks hint at a portentousness they simply don’t have.

The album’s intricately put together and admirably precise, but for all the sweeping minor chords and syrupy washes, it can be difficult to find the heart of this music. The tracks build and drop in all the right places to say ‘come, emote with me’, but it’s an evocation to something inconsequential or ephemeral for the most part. The tunes are certainly pretty in places, and the uncluttered space in which the ideas in each track find themselves is refreshing, but they tend to flirt with substance where they should be making bolder claims for themselves. ‘Square Wheels’ is notable because it ups the pace, throws in a couple of nice breaks and works around a simple but effective melody; as such, it’s immediately head and shoulders above the rest of the pieces here.

Highpoint Lowlife

Stuart Fowkes

Stuart is possibly one of the tallest people you have ever seen. He towers above your puny skyscrapers like Rodan on steroids, his blonde spikes puncturing the atmosphe re like crazed, gelled knives. In real life he is part of the Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element pop outfit, and writes for other websites as well as this one - the cheeky blighter. He favours the noisier end of the musical spectrum, with a fervour which would seem to indicate a dodgy heavy metal past.


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