Monday, February 19, 2007

Aqueduct -- Or Give Me Death

Not related to Commodore Perry or Lionel Richie for that matter.David Perry, first came to my attention a couple of years ago with his first full album under the Aqueduct moniker (sorry, he's just not cool enough for an alias), I Sold Gold. It wasn't a hit, it wasn't an "auspicious" debut, but it was promising.

I Sold Gold is quirky bedroom pop. Despite being released under the name of a band, it is clearly born from and executed by a single musical mind. It had weird little synth blips, heavily effected drums and a vocal style that would have felt comfortable with Yoshimi and her Pink Robots.

Most noticeably it had lyrics that fed on plenty of pop culture amongst the fairly standard broken love of indie rock. Coupled with connections to Modest Mouse, Ben Gibbard and housed on Barsuk Records it was perhaps preordained to have a song on an O.C. compilation -- that is was "Hardcore Days & Softcore Nights" and not "Growing Up with GnR" was probably just to remind us old farts that plenty of OC fans are to young to remember skinny Axl.

Getting ready to die on a toilet?Or Give Me Death doesn't come off so much as a sophomore slump, as it does an album distracted with trappings and the peripheral. Previous Aqueduct recordings felt cleverly cobbled with available resources: Musical, technical and monetary, but it was the thought that counted. Or Give Me Death is still quirky, but where the use of horns, strings, big grand pianos and presumably gobs of real studio time should support some musical purpose, they often seem like the whole point.

The little deceits of relationships (both told and received) are a driving topic of most of the lyrics and could be found on a whole host of other indie records and probably done better. That said, tracks like"Living a Lie" are largely a success, with energetic drums and a tasteful application of electronic blips.

Mrs. Gorilla likes the Rock, I like Spy Hunter. These are the things that make a marriage work.However, the ode to The Princess Bride, "As You Wish" falls flat as an overly contrived attempt to hook up with young women nostalgic for a film of their youth. However, no one who rhymes "This is a song for all the lovers," with, "or anyone who's playing Spy Hunter," as Perry does on "Zero the Controls" is all bad.

In the end, despite a few nice moments, Aqueduct remains basically where he was after the last album -- merely a promising artist, rather than one moving into his prime. I have little doubt that he'll get a chance to make more records -- hopefully he'll be able to better discern where his burgeoning studio craft can be put to use in support of great songs, rather than in lieu of them.

Rating: 3/5


Or Give Me Death is streaming in it's entirety for free at

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Blogger sweet baby jaysus said...

his name is david terry

12:17 AM  

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