Welcome To Concrete is the solo effort for Al Humphreys. His release Distant Viewer sounds like a full band but he handles all the instrumentation as well the production and engineering. A true DIY effort. There is just no denying Distant Viewer will be enjoyed most by those who enjoy a certain niche of indie rock. I think the most obvious comparison is Broken Social Scene. You can also make comparisons to band like indie demi-gods Yo La Tengo, Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. You can also hear hints of shoegaze that is loosely tied to the aforementioned bands.
This is a guitar heavy album with catchy hooks. The delivery is solid and so is the songwriting. He open with “Still A Mystery” which is one of the songs that reminded me of Broken Social Scene. Especially the drumming. That being said the song holds its own. The melody is there and aesthetically speaking everything sounded good to my ears. A bit on the lo-fi side but a nice, crunchy tone to the guitar. The title track is just a great track any way you cut it. I thought the vocals really made the song. It’s that breathy, a little bit above a whisper delivery that I tend to be a sucker for.
Another highlight was “Motor.” Musically it was a deviation from the previous songs. He cuts away the distortion in favor of smoother sounding guitars. On top of that the groove is easy to bob your head to and enjoy.
“Untouched” contains some huge sounding guitar while “Perfect Kill” is the most subtle, soft and nuanced song on the album. The centerpiece and most epic sounding song is “Late” which revolves around 32nd note single note shredding.
Distant Viewer is an album that clearly has some influences but at least those influences are fantastic. If you enjoy some of the aforementioned band than Distant Viewer is a no brainer. Recommended.
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