Gratitude for the Shipper
(Daniel 13 Press)
Bands, like people, need to walk that fine line between being pretentious and being too simple. While I do love Vampire Weekend, they can absolutely be pretentious. Fan Modine, however, seems to do a good job of walking that line. They can have lines like “I’m cognizant of passion” ("cognizant" being a word I don’t believe I’ve ever heard in a song) and then have simple songs like the one where singer Gordon Zacharias repeatedly asks “Can we dance?”
Gratitude for the Shipper is the band’s first new album in six years. The band is essentially Zacharias with the help of different musicians each album, and the album is supposedly based on the ideas of and references French poets and obscure pop artists – but you don’t have to know all that to enjoy it. The tracks feel genuine, occasionally folksy and old-timey. Zacharias has a beautiful voice, but he doesn’t push it, instead choosing to talk-sing-whisper his way through the tracks, which I’m entirely okay with. He sounds earnest about everything he says, and concerned about it, in a way that reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel songs.
The second track "Julu Road," is the most appealing to me. It’s got a great driving beat, Zacharias sings in a higher register than the other tracks, and the whole thing is generally upbeat. Later in the album we get to "Cups in Canarsie," a slower song that stretches past the six-minute mark - lullabyish before switching to quicker acoustic guitars and slow organs. Generally, I like fast songs, so if there have to be slow songs on an album, I see them as something like the green Mike & Ikes in the box – they’re there to make everything else more enjoyable. But it helps if the content of the track comes across as meaningful or original. Happily for me and his fans, Zacharias has said he’s already working on new album - so we won’t have to wait until the year 2017 for his next set of un-pretentiously complicated songs.
More by this writer:
Phineas and the Lonely Leaves - The Kids We Used to Be
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Live - March 11, 2011
Goldenboy - Sleepwalker
Jane Lui - Goodnight Company