For Every Story Untold - Hideout
Release Date: August 2010
For Every Story Untold are an ambient shoegaze duo from Astoria, Queens. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brian Caesar was As Tall as Lions bassist from 2003-2004 and helped in the writing of the band's debut album Lafcadio. Vocalist Lauren Edman had written and played with various artists, including but not limited to Sleepthief and Delta isis. The band's press notes indicate that since his departure from ATAL, Caesar had only picked up his bass a handful of times and focused his attention on writing songs with supernatural elements. Hideout is their debut offering.
How is it?
Promising. Opener "Hideout," is celestial and haunting, nocturnal and graceful. Caesar employs wistful movements that are graceful and lilting, while vocalist offers affecting vocals and the honest reflection, "Cause I can't fall in love forever." The song is lush, layered and intricate with tightly packed arrangements and a vocalist who seems to know her way around a song. For all her charms though, the music takes center stage. It is in a few words, nothing short of tremendous.
Second cut "From Under Paris," opens with 70 seconds of celestial noise before giving into Edman's vocals. There's a vulnerability at work here that seems perfectly suited for this kind of arrangement and the guitar lines feel more commercial and accessible. Whether this was intentional or not, it's worth nothing that there's a decidedly arena-ready element to the entire song. While her voice isn't exactly analogous to Karen Bergquist of Over the Rhine, one can't help but think of that band during this song. The rising guitars in the song's last minute are probably the EP's finest moments.
"Mistakes We've Made," opens with an acoustic guitar and is an attempt at introspection that doesn't falter. It's the first chance to hear Edman's range and abilities. Though the song does tack on superfluous arrangements and staggers longer that needed (it's almost six minutes), the song's final 90 seconds are a wash of drums, keys, bass and guitars, and while its fleshed out and pulsing, it is a bit heavy handed.
Final cut "I Am the Wolf That Bit Me," is a solid song but for some reason, listener fatigue has already set in by the time the song hits the halfway mark. Maybe it is the duration of the songs, but the entire listening experience is laborious and can at times feel like a chore. Music should never feel like a chore, and it's safe to say the group badly needed to find their way into a hook or melody. With the exception of "From Under Paris," that never really happens.
The emerging problem is that For Every Story Untold is infinitely capable of writing such songs. And yet the four songs on this EP don't offer that. Does that mean For Every Story Untold becomes just background noise in a crowded Manhattan bar? Only time will tell, but these two musicians are more than capable of turning heads, and one can only hope the next release does exactly that.