Zillionaire - The Street Lights Have Been Turned Down
Record Label: New Granada Records
Release Date: November 3, 2007
Zillionaire’s first full-length album, The Street Lights Have Been Turned Down seems to move nowhere and offers no direction as the songs phrases progress. The music remains static like a reservoir of water that has no place to go, it just sits there completely stationary and settled in its place. The vocal pitch of lead singer/guitarist Heath Dupras is void of emotion, and the flaccid ripples of the rhythmic knolls from bassist Bryan Bates and drummer Keith Ulrey end up flowing into itself. Each time the rhythms move forward, they reverse backwards never taking a step outside of their relegated square. The leisurely guitar strokes of Michael Waksman save these songs from becoming completely vapid by shifting the course of the flow and detailing the melodies with subtle peaks and curvaceous waves. Overall, the songs are sparsely layered and offer introspective verses and glassy atmospherics comparable to Spoon and Guster.
Zillionaire has a processed neo-folk fare in tracks like “I Won’t Let You Down (This Time),” “The Gardener,” and “The Occasion of the Water Heater.” The sluggish tempo of these tunes have a lackadaisical flow, and its fluid atmospherics are characteristic of the band’s tunage capacity. The leisurely pace of the movements make the songs actually feel like they aren’t moving at all. The slow rolling guitar riffs of “Three Ghosts” and “Put It On” have a light, fluffy texture that bends and flexes casually through the course of the melodies while held in flight. The band picks up a mid-tempo paddling along the tracks “Loose Leaf” and “Tonight Will Be Alright” injecting some peaks and troughs into the melodic flow with some crystalline beading along the way. The band even travels into meadows of rollicking chord rotations in “No Contest,“ but after the short jaunt, the band returns to a sluggish pace and sparse melodic layers in “New Cymbal” and “Jesus Told Me.”
The band’s watered down psychedelics and leisurely neo-folk fare are pruned to a vapid chromed consistency. This is music that never stops drifting, and yet, it drifts absolutely nowhere. It’s glassy tonality is reminiscent of Spoon and the band’s folk threads are relatable to Matthew Sweet. Granted, Zillionaire is distinguishable, not for making music that moves you, but for music that keeps you standing still.