Reviews

Generationals could help you grow up

Generationals-Actor-Caster

Actor-Caster

Generationals

Release Date: Mar 19, 11

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Generationals deserve a grand fanbase for their website alone – it’s complete. It’s got music, video, email, tour dates, all that jazz and with much more appeal than the mere 2005 MySpace usual. The New Orleans duo, vocalists/instrumentalists Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, hit up multi-era-influenced mellow pop for their sophomore album Actor-Caster, which lingers slowly around the theme(s) at hand: a post-breakup album, or maybe during-breakup album. Everything is about trying to look at a relationship honestly and trying to forget and/or remember. There may even be a hint of reconciliation somewhere in the always-perky-on-some-level tracks. But the sincerity of it all really deserves applause.
It’s a good sign, I think, when the first track of an album is dealt out via music blog emails, such as RCRD LBL. It’s simply good hospitality for welcoming in a new release. “Ten-Twenty-Ten” is something Spoon-ish, or Delta Spirit-ish sounding in the opening electric guitar rhythm, kept gong with snaps, or claps, or some kind of slapping noise. The drums or other percussion? As Joyner comes in, I can only think of The Kinks singing “Lola.” If chill-wave became more of a party ambiance, this would be something like it.

Sounding a little more Beach Boys, “I Promise” even has that beach-friendly vibe with scratchy, far-off sounding vocals. For some reason it’s kind of sad, not in a pathetic way, but in a nostalgic kind of way. A song promising to be back again is already heavy in the themes of memory. And this one just sounds like it’s been buried for a while.

As if playing on the theme of moving on and moving away from the last track, “Yours Forever” opens with a line of reassurance that you’re being thought of, carried in Joyner’s heart. Keyboard sounds akin to a harp even accompany in the background (smartly). Then enter the electronic blip sounds and the track takes on a feel much more like an extremely slowed-down Rubik song. Joyner gains your trust on this one. He sings with conviction and his words feel like a middle-school love note you find taped to your locker. Anonymous but kind of fun to think about.

“Goose & Gander” sounds smoother, with the occasional one-two clap. Widmer sounds clearer and older both at once. As if he stood closer to the microphone or turned up his volume. There are even echoing background vocals that occasionally underline his voice. The song fluctuates between sending a message of defying feeling conquered by a unfortunate relationship and sending a message of gloom and doom. All strewn through the up and down of the rather perky tune. Don’t forget about those hand claps.

As the title to the last track, “Please Be It” is almost like trying to make me feel like I should be glad the album is ending. The song itself opens strongly. It knows it’s the conclusion to this album of torn love and loving breakup. The music is agreeably sounding more matured as if it’s been through the torment and roller coaster of the relationship of the album. It’s got experience. By the end I feel like I have 10 tracks of memories to which I have no actual relation. This song brilliantly sums it all up on the appropriately longest track of the whole album. “What’s the worst we can do but start to try?”