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Collaborative album shows promise

Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013

Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 23:01

Dan the Automator, known for his collaboration with the Gorrillaz, and Emily Wells started 2013 off with the release of their first full-length, (and also self-titled) album, “Pillow Fight.”

 The music project is turning some heads with its grungy take on alt-pop-hip-hop electronica sounds and distinguishing album art. Their original angle is piano. While most in the genre leave no instrument untouched by some sort of modulation or computerization, “Pillow Fight” bravely threw a clean piano with jazz chords in an ambient elexronica mix. The result is unique and creepy. The best example is Track 2: “In the Afternoon.”

Overall, the album has a smooth, steady beat that’s pleasantly unsettling. Emily’s dark lyrics match her feminine rasps (reminiscent of Macy Gray) as she sings her haunting lullabies. The music is anything but happy, but I recommend it to anyone who loves the darker side of hip-hop electronica.

Overall, “Pillow Fight” is a good album. I give it 7 out of 10 stars. Each song carries its own original and entertaining face and air. “Pillow Fight” also does a good job with empty space. While many bands can put out a good catchy beat, they miss the little changes, or make boring decisions with the effect noises. Dan the Automator makes no such mistakes.

However, I do think that some of the songs go on a little long. When the album is playing as background music, no one would ever notice it. But if someone were to try to pass the time by listening to the album in his or her headphones, a few songs would feel like they just kept going.

Track 10, “I Work Hard,” is the worst. The song starts off fine, but the last minute draws on and on. In contrast, Track 1 “Used to Think,” is a fun song that continues to grow on the listener with each listen.

Despite a few bumps, “Pillow Fight” is a promising first album for the band. I’m sure there will be a few more to follow.

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