Elevate Difference

Selfish

A is for Accident, a Portland-based duo of Andrew Klaus and Julie Baird, is driven by Baird’s song writing and reverence for 1980s bands like Joy Division, Depeche Mode, and The Cure. The band considers themselves a “Francophile art band,” and they collaborate frequently with French musicians Yves and Ys dans Paris. The song titles themselves such as “Rx” reveal the band’s gothic tendencies, reinforced by echoing keyboards; sparse, effects laden guitars; electronic drums; and pleading, distorted vocals.

Lyrics on Selfish turn toward the dramatics of selfishness in love and relationships, particularly those with a gay bent. They are peppered with familiar themes and refrains such as, “You were my only love,” on “Sonoma” or “Only time will tell if you were my heaven or will be my hell,” on “Larmoyant.” These sentiments are reflected by Klaus’ literary references to the romantic and southern gothic genres with references in song titles such as “The waiting in hell, looking up for the stars” (Oscar Wilde) and “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” (Carson McCullers). These references also tie Klaus to the community of young, queer artists who take inspiration from these literary expressions, such as Miami-based painter Hernan Bas.

At an ambitious eighteen songs long, the record feels overstuffed and over serious, especially as most songs clock in longer than three minutes. On many tracks, the vocals are mixed loud and the supporting instrumentation too quiet to give the album a consistent, listenable feel. Klaus and Baird have highly trained artistic sensibilities, and the dancier tracks on the record, such as “L’Affair,” show the mix of seriousness and fun that the band is capable of. Perhaps on their next recording, the band can hone their editing skills and distill the latent goth-pop talent lurking behind the songs on this inconsistent record.

Written by: Eleanor Whitney, June 18th 2009

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