To explain: Film School’s eponymous second effort was released in January of this year, so the oversight is somewhat forgiven. It was also an effort that I played a few times, rather enjoyed, but life somehow forced me to put the album away and, shame on me, forget about in.
That is, until I recently went about making a mix cd for the obligatory holiday traveling and noticed it, sitting right there in the “H” section of my alphabetized collection. Quickly spinning through the tracks, I was reminded that Film School is a rather nice exercise in early 80’s British psychedelia,
Which is exactly why it didn’t post higher in the 2006 Baker’s Dozen list; an “exercise” in 80’s British psychedelia is a fairly unremarkable inspiration to begin with. Let’s face it, some of those original bands, the Teardrop Explodes and Echo & The Bunnymen in particular, were very capable and hard to surpass. But when a band reaches for these kinds of pinnacles, and comes close to the same floor as ‘em, it’s deserving of attention.
The required blueprint is here: melodic bass lines, echo-laden guitar patterns, and faux Anglophile vocals. While this is enough to qualify, and while a lot of bands stop at this, Film School explores the musical interplay beyond the three and four minute mark, hinting that they may be a worthy live unit.
The highlights that best exemplify this come towards the end of the 10 song disc, with tracks like “11:11,” “Sick Of The Shame,” and the stunning closer “Like You Know” all clocking in at six minutes or more, providing the band with ample time to explore every nuance of the obvious inspirations. It’s a good direction to follow, if the fellas are taking notes here, and it does require the listener to get through the fairly shallow first half of the record to notice what they’re capable of.
Good things come to those who wait, and the same is true for this review, I guess.
Photo by Aerin. Courtesy of band's website.