2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not Their Best,
This review is from: The Campfire Headphase (Audio CD)
This album is good but not that great. Boards of Canada are commonly viewed of as an experimental band, but this record sounds as though they 'refined' their sound. As a result, it lacks the warmth of their earlier stuff and the eeriness and gothic-touches of 'Geogaddi', coming out sounding very similar to bands like Air - not a bad thing, altogether. But again, not 'experimental', which is why I wouldn't recommend this as a place to start your BoC journey unless you are into nu-jazz, downtempo style stuff and want something a little more ambient to chill out to. In which case, this is a five-star album.
That said, there is lots to like on this album, even if it is one paced and lacks the brilliant samples of 'Geogaddi' - there are no 'music is math' or '1969' songs on here. Instead, what you have are some really good songs which are more downtempo than any of the stuff on the previous albums. 'Satelite Anthemn Icarus', for instance, has a lovely, laid-back- and-languid feel, beginning with the sound of waves and an acoustic guitar (this is an example of the Air influence I was talking about). After the similarly but less convincingly laid-back 'Peacock's Tail', 'Dayvan Cowboy' does a good job at giving the record some much needed impetus: the song begins with reverberating guitar chords, but halfway through a solid rhythm underpins it and there are some lovely delayed-cymbal sounds complimenting the strings. This is an example of the kind of restrained experimentalism this album offers, which is great for people who would be put of by some the weirdness on offer in 'Geogaddi'.
But overall, it kind of disappoints me that there isn't much to rival 'Dayvan Cowboy' here, which is the only song to really get things off the ground. Most of the album continues in the same relaxed vein without creating the moving and startling soundscapes this band is usually capable of. So this album is not something that will overly impress you, or make you realise why BoC are so highly-regarded, but it is still relaxing, immaculately recorded and enjoyable.