Matchless Years


Aarktica’s Matchless Years sounds like indie rock circa 2008. That statement might read like a no-brainer, but the pristine production that shoots through these noir songs of longing, regret, and the slightest glimmer of hope colors the album as being born in the digital age, free of mistakes and any lo-fi intimacy. Every track is meticulously constructed, built of sparing parts and hinged together with drum machine percussion. At its best — as on the superb opening salvos “Seventy Jane,” “I Name You Sleep,” and “Matchless” — the group evokes the somber minimalism of Low or the humid ambiance of later-period Yo La Tengo. It’s dark, slow-moving, and highly melodic. It’s also a formula that the group attempts to stick with but mars with digitized breakbeats (“Arms”) and dub/gothic club bounce (“Happiness Boys”). Two instrumentals flesh out the disc to eight tracks: the serviceable, if slightly bland, rave up “Summer Tabla Dub” and the redemptive grandeur of the breaking dawn on “Rooftop Films.” Ultimately, Aarktica does not capitalize enough on its strengths and ends up with a sound that has flashing greatness and a number of faceless moments, just like so many other indie rock bands today.

Darla: www.darlarecords.com

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