|All Artists: Umbrella Sequence|
Title: Sparkler Cliche
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 6/22/2004
Genres: Pop, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
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Stellar New Music
sethpage | Minnesota | 06/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This experimental Minnesota four-piece is an amalgamation of some of the ingredients that make Muse and Granddaddy so great. And with influences ranging from The Beatles, to The Smashing Pumpkins, to Boards of Canada, you can rest assured they're diverse as hell. While their music can be instantly inspiring, curiously enough it's full of poignant pretension and self indulgence as well. But that's a good thing, I swear. Everything balances out nicely.`The Sequence' originally formed in 2002 as a quintet and had a few early gigs under the names "Silas" and "Ship to Shore." Through general word-of-mouth and a great website, the band built a considerable reputation as one of Minneapolis' premiere live acts. Their unbridled energy and emotion then spilled over into the recording process, where the band feverously worked throughout the winter of 2002-03 readying their debut album, "Sparkler Cliché," for a limited March 15th.Since that time, the band has been busy with a few tricks up their proverbial sleeves. They've played nearly 80 shows, toured the country, signed with a national label, released an EP, shot a music video, and began headlining venues in and around Minneapolis. Not bad for a group of early twenty-something Midwestern hombres who are, essentially, just starting out.Lastly, `Cliché' is anything but what its title suggests. It's a veritable education in eloquence and expression. This self-produced, self promoted album is a remarkable résumé, a stunning calling card from musicians who will be around for awhile. The fact that the band recently signed with Florida-based label, OHEV Records, insures the masses will have equal opportunity to witness this up and coming powerhouse of musical creativity and cohesion."
Far from a "Cliche"
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 01/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When listening to the Umbrella Sequence's "Sparkler Cliche," it's easy to immediately think, "This sounds like Radiohead." Don't let that first impression distract you, because it comes unglued as you listen to the scratchy prettiness of the Minnesota band's first album. It sounds a bit like Radiohead, but not so much that it lacks originality.
An ethereal undercurrent runs through each song -- sometimes it's in the forefront, like in the quietly driving "Athena." In other songs, it's woven into psychedelic pop rhythms. That rare catchiness gets to burst out into the swirling "A Presswood Smile" and the Beatlesesque pop charm of "Water and Repeat."
"Rowboat, one for port and one for starboard,/One for little leaks that watered my eyes way... (too soon)./And you cross the line, renting out paradise," Ryan Rupprecht laments, just before the album ends on a glorious experimental note: the exquisitely spacey, goofy, scratchy, tinkly melody of "The Glass Staircase," which sounds like the best song that Olivia Tremor Control never wrote.
Few bands, on their first album and EP, manage to be as polished and rich-sounding as the Umbrella Sequence. Most of them work years to sound like this, and most of them don't succeed -- especially such a perfect blend of driving rock, catchy pop and experimental.
Every instrument in "Sparkler Cliche" sounds like it's either floating away, or snarling at the listener -- raw guitars and airy synth sit side by side in this album, and complement each other flawlessly. They also complement Ryan Rupprecht's high voice, which sounds a bit like Thom Yorke, but more fragile and a bit more ethereal.
The music itself is almost transcendent, but is rooted down by rain-related song lyrics like "now it rains sad girlfriends/whom I'll betray" and "Ever since February/the roof has been leaking on me/Leaving puddles of sad tones of you." With lyrics like those, it's hard not to feel a little twinge.
The Umbrella Sequence does an outstanding job in its first full-length album, hinting at even more psychedelic rock-pop grandeur to come. "Sparkler" is anything but a cliche."