Monday, March 15, 2010

Cinerama - Disco Volante - 2000

Indie pop as seductive device? Not a chance, unless you've heard Cinerama. Really -- think about it. Is there anything remotely erotic about Sebadoh, Sloan, or (gasp!) the Elephant Six contingent? No sir/ma'am. Disco Volante seems like a more logical extension of the Wedding Present than Va Va Voom, employing more electric than acoustic guitars and drier production. Though the pairing of the Wedding Present with Steve Albini made sense for 1991's Seamonsters, David Gedge's decision to work again with the engineer seems a bit misplaced for Cinerama. At that stage of the Wedding Present's career, they were thriving on their roughness and angularities, something Albini is an expert at capturing. But for Cinerama, a group with a more rounded, elegant sound, it sounds a little awkward. If it was Gedge's intent to win back some of the Wedding Present fans who found Va Va Voom to be too much of a departure, Disco Volante could succeed in that regard. With Weddoes guitarist Simon Cleave now a full-fledged member, there's some of the trademark late '80s/early '90s roar apparent in the likes of "146 Degrees" and "Your Charms"; but whether or not that and crisp drums fit snugly alongside French horn and accordion is debatable. Regardless of these features, Gedge shows absolutely no signs of dwindling lyrically. His common topics of romance and lust are well-roamed, but the man is perfectly incapable of sounding like a cliché. Despite Disco Volante's rougher sound, the eroticism is in throbbing supply in "Lollobrigida" and "Unzip." Otherwise, Disco Volante echoes Va Va Voom in its well-placed use of chamber pop elements, and if you have that all-too-necessary skill that allows you to not think "Jethro Tull" when a flute pops up from time to time, you're all the better off. And hats (and panties?) off to Gedge for scoring the rhythm section of the disbanded Goya Dress. Bassist Terry de Castro and drummer Simon Pearson are ideal additions to Gedge's vision.-AMG