*Forced Smile* Right, this is, you know… Nice. Really, um, different.

For the label that put out Non and reissued the first couple of Suicide records, this is pretty damn pedestrian. I mean, the first track, “Soft Landing,” is so lush and fluffy you could probably have a great dreamless night of sleep on it, but then “Food Music” rushes in, all eager to please, like Stereolab’s tin soldiers, and wrecks the peaceful symmetry. Vocals are a bit like Beck, eeek, though there is a pleasing dryness to the instrumentation. Next Track — “Throwing a Curve Ball” has a nice, evil vocoder bassline, but then the guitars sort of mooch around, the drums stay in a lockstep and nothing else happens. Well, there is a pleasant rock interlude at the end, but eh. After that comes “Aquaplane,” and it sounds like the 1990’s kinder, gentler Sonic Youth. I’ll pass on this one, please. “Heroes of Telemark” is “nice” restrained little jam, maybe like a eunuch Doors. Moving on.

Actually, I’ll stop right now, before this review collapses any further into cattiness, but in prime librarian tradition, I’d like to provide some helpful musical cross references to the last few songs on the record. This will be a scream, I’m sure. And educational. “Hot Pursuit” — see lethargy, see also shoegazing. “Enjoy Your Nutrition” — see Moore, Thurston, boring solo works; see also Nonsense song titles, futility of. “Pre-Rocket Science” — see Mogwai, couldn’t hold a candle to; see also Tortoise, what evil have you wrought? “Soyuz” — see heavy metal, listener finding salvation in after being beaten senseless by this record. “Pacifica” — see overstaying your welcome.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Mute Records, 140 W. 22nd Street, Suite 10A, New York, NY 10011;

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