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Call it “chill-wave” if you’d rather, but either way, Pareles ain’t havin’ it. After citing the micro-genre’s leading lights (Neon Indian, Memory Tapes, Small Black, etc.), dude goes in:
“The songs come across like geek daydreams: half-remembered Top 40 songs and dance hits sung by guys too shy to leave their rooms.”
“But many of these glo-fi songs were even more repetitive than electropop, just looping on and on because they can, bouncing along as mindlessly as a bobble-head doll.”
“It’s annoyingly noncommittal music, backing droopy vocals with impersonal sounds-a hedged, hipster imitation of the pop they’re not brash enough to make. Which doesn’t mean that, sooner or later, one of these bands won’t stumble onto a hit.”
Awfully rare that the Paper of Record is anything less than diplomatic and even-handed; exceptions are fairly legendary. (Consider Pareles’ 2005 swipe at “the most insufferable band of the decade.”) So let’s enjoy this one, which ends, delightfully, with the dude from Black Moth Super Rainbow repeatedly tripping over his own power chord.