[audio:http://pantograph-punch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/avalancheshitty.mp3|titles=Avalanche City: Sunset on my Love, Love, Lovve]
I had to adjust the speed of one of the tracks by approx 4%, but you get the idea.
I provided this to The Corner for its Great Sounds Great: Bad Sounds Bad column this week (“Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in“), where I said something pithy like “That took a lotta guts….enjoy the insurance ad money” and gave it a zero. The thing is, I do think this takes a lot of guts.
Dave Baxter comes off in his interviews as a good-natured and enthusiastic guy. Revealingly, he responded to Graham Reid’s tongue-in-cheek question about what made his first (then only) record his best like so: “Because it’s the last album I’ll make for a long time with just my interests at heart“. He’s 28 or thereabouts and therefore young but not pop-music young, and has a wife and will probably look at starting a family of his own in the next few years. That he spent time making music for television suggests he understands the nature of the beast well enough to know that all things peak and pass, and his risk-aversion (I expected him to do a Postal Service-style move with some more programmed drums and peppy synth, but we don’t even dare go there with ‘Sunset’) will, with savvy licensing, let him earn a keep that lasts after the glitter is gone.
The inevitable trade-off in this pact has to be any serious critical appraisal. It’s a nice but wishful thought to imagine that reviewers will simply ignore what isn’t being made for them in the first place, but this isn’t how The Corner or any outlet left worth a cursory look operates. The saccharine melodies, the infantile, regressing imagery of the videos and the fact he has effectively released the same song twice will get him torn apart, and probably should, because when you create an artistic work in any sense and put it out there no one is listening to evaluate your financial life choices. A zero is the only way to go, though it belies the fact he’s working with other interests at heart, for the comfort and security most career musicians lose out on – that in other words, he’s taking his craft seriously. Would that I could anything.