I was walking along a Glasgow street the other day and I bumped into a musician. Nothing particularly unusual in that you might say – and indeed as I might say too – but the conversation that ensued came to an interesting conclusion. When I asked if there were any bands doing the rounds that might be of interest he could only come up with one and, perhaps surprisingly, that he had not seen a band that would make anyone want to be a musician.
As I listened to Abscondo’s “Travelpics” EP, the relevance of his comment became only too clear. There was nothing inherently wrong with the four songs presented here by this American fronted but otherwise European indie band but there was a certain lack of excitement, or perhaps a deliberate desire to play it safe, that diluted their impact quite considerably. The analogue synth sounds, for example, came straight out of someone else’s not too distant past and Mark Manney’s vocals likewise seemed like a blended pastiche of many a mainstream American male singer. Whilst I hope that the intention was to make something meaningful, the required emotional depth somehow got lost in the ultimately successful struggle to avoid any sort of musical complexity.
Making music for elevators probably pays a lot more than originality these days so you can’t criticise Abscondo for doing just that (if that had, in fact, been their intention). I doubt that it was however and the fact remains that few will want to pick up an instrument after hearing this EP.
The EP is available from Bandcamp.