Album Review: The Constellations – Southern Gothic

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The Constellations CD Album Review: The Constellations   Southern Gothic

The Constellations’ debut album, Southern Gothic, out June 22 on EMI’s Virgin Records, promises tales of Atlanta’s afterhours debauchery and delivers a 90′s flavored post-grunge soul rock that is certainly listenable but doesn’t break any doors down. Catchy hooks (e.g. “If you really wanna live, you gotta be ready to die” by the ultra-smooth Cee-Lo, and “It’s a perfect day to fade away”) are aplenty, ensuring an insidious invitation to sing along, but if you’re looking for the next Spoon or TV on the Radio, keep searching.

Southern Gothic isn’t a bad record, per se, it’s just all over the place. There are hints of rock (“Setback”), blue-eyed-soul (“On My Way Up”), baroque (“December”), funk (“Felicia”), and white rap (“Take a Ride” and “We’re Here To Save The Day”) with no unifying theme to keep a steady flow. All of the pre-release press suggests that there is a theme and that the theme is Atlanta’s seedy late night underbelly, but this says nothing of the sound of the record. There is no single sound to the record – it is a dartboard and collects whatever sticks. For a debut record, The Constellations have not established who they are as a band. We could just as easily say The Constellations sound like Soul Coughing as we could say they sound like Kid Rock or Massive Attack.

Identity crisis aside, “Perfect Day” is cool, sinister, and swampy, “We’re Here To Save The Day” has a fun kid-chorus, a la “Hard Knock Life,” “What I See” showcases frontman, Elijah Jones’ vocals at their finest and most pure, and “On My Way Up” plays like a Billy Joel cover (in a good way). “December” and “Love Is A Murder” are the record’s clear standouts. A beautiful harpsichord intro and playful use throughout add a vintage lightheartedness to “December” that the record needs. Cee-Lo’s touch on “Love Is A Murder” make this track the most radio ready.

The Constellations’ debut record shows potential for the band if they pick a genre and stick to it. Southern Gothic is dizzingly distracted.

Southern Gothic is available on Amazon.com June 21st — the CD is $10.99 and Vinyl is $16.13. Buy singles “Felicia,” Setback,” and “Love is a Murder,” now on itunes for $1.29 each.

Here “Felicia” and other tracks at The Constellations’ myspace page and the band website.

Watch the video for “Setback”

Rating: 6/10

Tracklist:

  1. Setback
  2. Perfect Day
  3. Love Is A Murder (Featuring Cee-Lo)
  4. December
  5. Take A Ride
  6. We’re Here To Save The Day (Featuring Asher Roth)
  7. Felicia
  8. Step Right Up*
  9. What I See
  10. Weighing Me Down*
  11. On My Way Up

(*The advance copy of Southern Gothic we received did not include tracks “Step Right Up” or “Weighing Me Down.”)

COMMENTS

  1. Posted by bethy

    Its better than that. No Doubts “debut” album, Tragic Kingdom also sported many genres and look where it got them! Everyone proudly owned that album! Who wants tob listen to the same boring shit every track? Not me!!

  2. Posted by Anonymous

    One of the best things about this album is the fact that it offers many different flavours that are all done well. If you only 'like' this album, I suggest seeing The Constellations live – you will definitely come away from the high-energy show a huge fan. This band appears to be having the time of their lives onstage – totally infectious.

  3. Posted by Adam

    It's Elijah Jones, not "Elijah Woods." Or didn't you think that there are people with that name other than Frodo?

  4. Posted by Grant Parker

    What the hell kind of advice is "pick a genre and stick with it"? That's retarded. Make good music, that's it. All these tracks are good. Period. I bet this prick hated that Bowie didn't stick with glam rock.

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