Dawn Landes - Fireproof
Dawn Landes' Fireproof would fit perfectly into the soundtrack for Juno or on a commercial for a trendy MP3 player. It is the kind of music that is unorthodox yet vapidly unappealing, carrying a wide array of minimalist indie instrumentation and English-lit major approved lyricism that is weighed down from an extremely detached vocalist.
The songs on Fireproof simply do not know where to go; they are carelessly unrestricted by any generic boundaries. Opener "Bodyguard," for instance, builds to a pop-inspired chorus, but its cloying repetition of the word "bodyguard" fails to engage. "Picture Show" holds a bizarre, almost circus-like, melody, that is egregiously out of place and, uncharacteristically poorly written, "La la la la life's a gag / La la la la you're a fag." Then there is "Toy Piano," an arbitrarily placed instrumental of meaningless charm, where a toy piano is played for a minute and a half over nearly inaudible other instruments.
The instrumentation and lyricism on Fireproof, though, hold the album's charm and greatest feats, as the music often accompanies Landes' winsome narratives, like on "Kids in a Play," where she sings, "We are like kids in a play set in the Victorian Age / We only know what to say because we practiced at home." The former half of "Kids in a Play" is the best moment of Fireproof; it is quaint and sad and nostalgically endearing, as lonesome acoustic strumming and spacey synthesizer play out childish memories. But the song dwindles into boring indifference, as the chorus is spoken-lacking emphasis or meaning-shattering any climax creeping in. That holds the greatest flaw in Fireproof: inconsistence. With better direction, though, Dawn Landes has indie-film-soundtrack written all over her.
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