Thursday, 2 February 2012

All the Saints - Intro to Fractions

Intro to Fractions, the new album from Atlantan three-piece All the Saints, offers a melding of mellow guitar with heavy rock drums, yielding an invigorating yet relaxing 35 minutes of music separated into 12 bite-sized tracks for easy digestion.

Some four years since the release of Fire on Corridor X, the trio's debut, singer and guitarist Matt Lambert explains the extra thought that went into the compositions that made the Intro to Fractions shortlist.

"There wasn't much room for repeating ourselves - you can bury your instruments, your words, in effects forever, but eventually you'll have to say something," he says.

With Intro to Fractions, the group have made a strong return that is rich in a sense of their musical origins - recorded at numerous studios throughout the Atlanta area, and with the help of stalwarts of the local music scene.

Intro to Fractions - All the Saints
High Points

Sunk Hill is unique among the tracks of Intro to Fractions, stepping out of the frenetic pace - and setting aside the frantic drums - to offer 80 seconds of atmospheric guitar instrumentals. The track has a cinematic feel to it, with careful pacing and, despite its stripped-back persona, good development as the minute-and-a-bit ticks by.

4H Trip is a further departure from the main style of Intro to Fractions - and while there's nothing wrong with the central tracks, it's always good to see (and hear) variety. 4H Trip is another short one at less than 1:20 in duration, but it packs in a split personality of sound. From backwards-sounding vocals and echoing FX at its opening, looping feedback soon drowns out all else, ending in a cacophony of electronic rhythm.

The Verdict

Intro to Fractions describes itself as 'a doomed voyage', and it lives up to that label. I'm not sure everybody will appreciate that, though - like Thomas Tantrum's Mad By Moonlight back in June 2011, the inspiration for Intro to Fractions is introspective, which challenges the listener to either find the same emotions within themselves, or to care about the writer's past experiences without becoming dispassionate. It's a hurdle most modern music - and charting pop in particular - rarely puts in place, and I think it limits the potential audience for this album.

That being said, there are moments of true innovation - and little gems like Danger Flowers that deliver a sucker punch of sound in truly compact form. As always, that means that, if this is your genre, there's likely to be something on Intro to Fractions to put a smile on your face - or, at least, the intended troubled frown. Outside of the sphere of genre fans, however, there's probably not so much of universal appeal.

Final Score: 67%

Intro to Fractions - All the Saints

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