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Julie's Haircut | Adult Situations (Homesleep)
If ever a record deserved to be called diverse, this was it. The Italian five-piece open with three tracks that bear little resemblance to each other, albeit they could all fall under the wide umbrella of indie-rock. Opener In The Air Tonight (no, not that one) sounds like a medley of R.E.M.'s The One I Love and B.O.C.'s (Don't Fear) The Reaper mixed by Dave Fridmann; (Your Life's Highlights For The) Academy Awards introduces a distinctly European voice to an overblown Manic Street Preachers intro that then flits between a Grand Drive verse and a Someday Sparklehorse bridge; whilst Electric 80 sounds like Scout Niblett jamming with Electrelane. So far, so schizophrenic and the band know it, slipping in the minute-long instrumental interlude We Are Not Alone before cranking it up again with the throwaway crowd-pleaser The Power of Psychic Revenge. Similar devices appear twice more throughout the record, a kind of audio glue holding the disparate influences together.
What lets 'Adult Situations' down is the wearing of those influences too brazenly on the band's collective sleeve, resulting in a patchwork of recognisable references that doesn't really project the personalities of its creators. Similarly the vocal treatments, heavy-handed reverb and over-baked production of tracks like Fear Don't Live Here Anymore and Private Hell can't disguise some pretty tired songwriting. If the album were a movie it would be considered ambitious but flawed, one that adopts an epic facade to disguise a disjointed plot.
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003