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Cover Art Roy Montgomery and Chris Heaphy
Rating: 5.2

Now, before you get your knickers in a twist, let me say this: I really like Roy Montgomery. Or perhaps, I really like the idea of Roy Montgomery. The idea is this: he's from New Zealand, he's been putting out music for well over a decade, he's enormously influential in the new space- rock revival, having been cited as an influence by such luminaries as Flying Saucer Attack and Fuxa, and he's worked on a variety of great records. The idea of Montgomery as some never- do- wrong, low- key genius is certainly worth subscribing to, especially given the quality of some of his past work. (I'd especially recommend his awesome collaboration with Flying Saucer Attack.)

Now. Juxtapose the idea of Roy Montgomery with a real Roy Montgomery record-- more specifically, his latest collaboration with ex-Dissolve bandmate Chris Heaphy. Intended as the score for a play of the same name, True consists mostly of Montgomery's minimalist guitar explorations run through a variety of kitchen- sink effects with occasional accompaniment provided by Heaphy. To their credit, I can picture the eight tracks featured here as some sort of effective backdrop for a lonely Beckett- like dramatic muse. On it's own, though, it's... well... a bit boring.

The pieces featured here don't seem to have much compositional depth to them. What us rock critics sometimes call "guitar interplay" is often just two guys playing different things on guitars. True sadly consists of one or two guys just playing some different chords and arpeggios for a while. And they're not all that exciting. "Virtually So #1," "Picnic Time" and "Clouding Over" sound so limp that you never get the sense that they ever began or ended. The addition of reverb and delay on Montgomery's battered- sounding guitar does little to make things seem any more interesting. It's not until "Unfathomable #2," the record's more dense closer, that Montgomery fleshes out anything that makes a lasting impression.

Sadly, the thing that makes the biggest impression is the horrible, horrible cover art. I mean that's just bad. C'mon Roy and Chris. You can do better.

-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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