Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Slow Road to Tiny Empire
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Soundtracks
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Jonathan J. Casey | the twin cities | 05/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first came across the Fan Modine through an amazing 7" they put out on Grimsey. That song was called "Pageantry" and- despite the cloudy production value- is a must-have for obscure pop lovers. Somewhat reminiscent of the Magnetic Fields, "Pageantry" combined violins, clipped guitar snaps and scattershot drum patterns with affected, casual vocals that suggested a kind of benevolent obsession. Great stuff. "Slow Road to Tiny Empire" is a little disappointing, only because Gordon Zacharias seems to be reaching for a Robert Pollard-style concept album without ever building the tension and expansiveness that Pollard excells at. The first song, "Cardamon Chai," is a stilted fuzz-guitar freakout, which begs for significance without quite attaining it. The akward lyrical turns of this tune leave me a little confused, but that's made up for (after a short interlude) by "Tinseltown," a forward-moving song about makin' movies. Excellent. "Mesopotamian Pop Soda" is another good catchy tune, synth driven and more opaque. "Tiny Empire" lives up to its name (only about a minute and a half long) and makes me feel nice. I like small things, I guess. This album has taken awhile to grow on me, and the often fuzzy vocals make the lyrics even more difficult to dechipher than they may've been intended to be, but it is a cool record. It's hard to describe, which seems to me a good thing. It trails off at the end into a strange infinite loop of what seem to be traffic sounds, so beware. I'm looking forward to the next Fan Modine full-length...a little clearer recording and structure might be an improvement - but I won't complain if he keeps challenging us. Small fuzzy things are a-ok with me, and that's what the Fan Modine provides."