Doldrums: Feng Shui: Pitchfork Review
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Cover Art Doldrums
Feng Shui
Rating: 5.3

by Starr Matthews

Question: Are the Doldrums long haired, flower shirt- sporting hippies, or turtlenecked chin- rubbers?

Answer: Based on Feng Shui, released by the fine folks at VHF Records, it's extremely difficult to say what fashion- specific styles the Doldrums adhere to. Like most bands that dabble in such explicitly uncommercial mind fuckery, the Doldrums owe a heavy debt to old school space cadets like Popul Vuh and Syd Barrett, but manage to sneak in refined elements for the more discriminate modern music listener. My best guess is that the Doldrums' look represents an amalgam of relaxed, flowery textures along with more severe, form fitting attire.

When the Doldrums choose to behave like psychadelic rockers, they pull out all the tricks of the trade-- long, drawn out soloing, repetitive tribal- sounding percussive elements, and the occasionally incomprehensible tone- heavy singing means tie- dye on the head, sandals on the feet and the most flowery cufflinks money can buy. Like all acid- damaged prog acts, the songs tend to drag on, like the matted locks that serve as a hairdo.

The Doldrums' look is not totally pastel based, though. The band throws in ambient drones, sampled percussion and the concept of editing Feng Shui like it was some sort of audio installation. I see black horn- rimmed glasses, tight black fabrics on the torso and straight- leg black jeans as being crucial to the art- school portion of this look.

Needless to say, such a mix of styles can prove to be problematic and functionless for these fast- paced days. I mean, there's something to be said for maintaining a consistency of styles. I, for one. would prefer more the art- school look-- less of the less successful stoner- relic guitar work and more of the cerebral sonic experiments. My sources say the audio- project look is going to big for the gloomy- weather- battered Fall. Summertime is almost over folks.


-Samir Khan



10.0: Indispensable, classic
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional; will likely rank among writer's top ten albums of the year
8.0-8.4: Very good
7.5-7.9: Above average; enjoyable
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible

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