Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dntel: "Aimlessness" (album review)

Jimmy Tamborello's greatest success may have come as a driving force behind The Postal Service, but under the alias Dntel he's adored by many as well.  On June 5th Dntel returns with a brand new studio album of electronic pop titled Aimlessness.

One of the most difficult things to do in contemporary music, in my opinion anyway, is to hold a listener's attention throughout an instrumental track.  It's even harder when working with an electronic palette.  Dntel takes on that challenge with aplomb.

The record opens by lulling you with the lazy, relaxing atmosphere of "waitingfortherest II".  As the spacious "My Orphaned Son" stretches out in front of you, Dntel fills the gaps with small-yet-mighty percussion hits and vocal fragments.  On "Jitters", the music bubbles and pops along in a, well, jittery playful fashion.

Not everything works on the record.  You need to be hopped up on something to find the electronic trance of "Still" even remotely enjoyable.  The beats on "Bright Night" are frustratingly truncated.

The album's standout track is "Puma".  Several keyboard sounds are looped, creating a sunny and mesmerizing track.

Dntel has his moments.  There are some highly engaging tracks on Aimlessness.  Unfortunately, there are a number of cuts that border on unlistenable that negate those to a great extent.

Best tracks: ""Jitters", "Puma"

Track listing for Aimlessness:
  • waitingfortherest II
  • Jitters
  • Still
  • My Orphaned Son
  • Bright Night
  • Retracer
  • Puma
  • Santa Ana Winds
  • Trudge
  • Jitters (Geotic remix)
  • Doc (Dntel remix)
  • Paper Landscape

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