Boomkat Product Review:
Wondrous new full length set of vocal tunes from Arne Van Petegem, his third for the ever excellent Morr music. Arne's recent work has included contributions to the rapturously received "Blue skied an' clear" compilation, his 7inch "To Simply Lie Here And Breathe" for Morr's "A Number of Small Thing"s and the 'Heart without a mind' ep presented last week as a taster of his new sound. Clearly, he has not been stuck for ideas since his two previous albums for Morr, bridging further the camps called 'indie' and 'electronica' which have become such comforting bedfellows over the last 12 months. The latterday sound of Hood seems to provide one important reference point, as does the work of the awesome Dntel, so its no surprise to recall how suitable the matchup felt on the split 7inch with Dntel on San Diego label Rocketracer last november, as well as Arne's own 4-track cdep on the same label. Furthermore, last year saw touring with The Notwist, Opiate and Lali Puna: think of this trio and you may be able to imagine the three corners around which this satisfying album weaves its magical spell. "My tour mates kept pushing me to sing live and one time I came back to the venue to soundcheck, and they simply put a microphone in front of me, so I didn't really have a choice. If I could do the vocals live and be happy with how it worked out I could surely do it on the record..." Indeed. Unlike Styrofoam's cut up hip hop borrowing on 'The Point Misser' and the fractured moments of 'A Short Album About Murder', he now seems completely at ease, vocals up the front, the songs are what define this record. The critical beats and guitars of 'I have to keep reminding myself...' show how the focus on singing has honed the arrangement of sound, this album should strike a multitude of chords with listeners familiar with much acoustic introspection, yet still manage to tune into a rough axis which threads through many names mentioned so far in this review. "i'm what's there ..." is Styrofoam's most poppy record to date, and like all the finest pop records, theres a lingering sense of introspection and melancholy lying scacrely below its shimmering surface. But anyone with an interest in richly textured electronic sounds will be as satisfied as those who cherish beautiful melodies, catchy tunes and lyrics. 'If i believed you' ends on a highnote, riding a rhythm reminiscent of Lali Puna's electropop surges and yet still suggesting something new and aspirational. Styrofoam has made a huge step forward and "i'm what's there to show that something's missing" definitely shows what has been missing : this lush new hybrid sound. Highly Recommended.