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just vocals and plaintively plucked guitar run through an effect called the Haze of Memory is a nice way to take this processed confection out

just vocals and plaintively plucked guitar run through an effect called the Haze of Memory is a nice way to take this processed confection out

originally published: September, 2005


Her Space Holiday
The Past Presents The Future
(Wichita Records)

I don't know what summer is like for all of you, some relish the bonds of freedom and fling themselves into its sweaty arms of leisure, some dread the long stretch of empty days. Me, I've been a working stiff for long enough that summer vacation means less traffic in the mornings, so that part of it is behind me. Summer for me is welcoming the air weighing a ton and pressing on every part of you, the air exists as an entity, not just a baseline medium. Most people here in the Dirty South hate it, and I do about a third of the time, but since my pansy ass sits in the AC all day, I mostly love it.

Good summer pop records hold the same appeal for me. The production is thick, a 2 - 1 mix of artificial bliss and organic swim, where the sing song winds its way through the machine to make itself heard. The Past presents the Future, the latest album by celebrated one-man band Her Space Holiday aka former hardcore denizen Marc Bianchi. Big fat synth pulses, tiny clicks of drum beats and funky undercurrent support his hushed voices (It could be dubbed the Sufjan effect: all the cool boys of summer are a bunch of sultry whisperers) to create a textbook summer jam. It comes as close to being a dancefloor thing on "Missed Medicine" but really it has more in common with the funkier side of Ween than it does M People. "The Weight of The World" is a standout track, his sing song almost rap with strings and soul claps and the symphonic interplay on "You and Me" are refreshing in its comfortable warble.

There are two answering machine + instrument tracks (the opening "Forever and a Day" and the splendidly droney "A Small setback to a Great Comeback") that despite it being the easiest formula out there, are both splendid examples of the sub genre ( I smell a Top 10 list coming... that highlight Bianchi's great sense of orchestration.

The final, title track, just vocals and plaintively plucked guitar run through an effect called the Haze of Memory is a nice way to take this processed confection out. In fact, were I to through out a complaint at all, I'd say more of this and a little less of the a-game restaurant background music that makes up much of this album. Its not that any of it is bad, in fact quite good, but not anywhere as engaging as that title track, which fades into a sweet field recording of birds chirping in the trees. I know there is always that temptation to resist becoming a dreaded singer-songwriter, but dude, you are good at it.

Alex V. Cook

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v

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