Deliciously unfashionable, Blinker the Star's major-label debut is a sweet
mix of orchestral pop and rounded-edge post-punk. Their influences are too
many to name, but a partial list might include XTC (in both their edgier
moments and on somber ballads), Todd Rundgren, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry ... once you get started, it's hard to stop.
Singer /guitarist/ songwriter Jordon Zadorozny has come up with 12 meaty,
sticky songs. There's nothing bashed-out sounding about any of August
Everywhere indeed, every song sounds pored over, lovingly
brought to life, with sharp countermelodies and clever arrangements.
"Below the Sliding Doors" (RealAudio excerpt) is a good intro to the album as a whole. A song
that would have been at home on XTC's Nonsuch, "Sliding Doors"
doesn't have a hair out of place as the chorus weaves Zadorozny's soaring
falsetto around the steady thump of Kellii Scott's drums and the strings'
upward motion. If the earnestness of "Sliding Doors" grates, then leave the
rest of the record alone, because it's pretty indicative of what's to come.
There doesn't seem to be an ironic bone in August's body, in fact.
It's so heartfelt that even the most sincere listener might need a rest. If
anything, that quality, combined with the overplayed bombast of a song like
"Right Kind of Girl" (RealAudio excerpt), is the record's Achilles' heel. Still, it's hard to
fault Zadorozny for feeling too much at least there's backbone to
his sentiment, as opposed
to the empty emoting of the current crop of boy bands and R&B
It remains to be seen if people are much interested in a record that sounds
more like Rundgren's A Wizard, a True Star or XTC's Mummer
than Baby One More Time. Blinker the Star's smart, complex
arrangements and hooky yet nonobvious songwriting are their real virtues,
and even a perfect pop song like "Crazy Eyes" (RealAudio excerpt) might be too weird for
commercial radio and too poppy for college stations. August
Everywhere is full of charms, though, and even if it's a jewel that
doesn't need any more polishing, it's still a jewel.