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Twelve | First Album (Silber)
Twelve is the side project of Chris Olley, the vocalist from the occasionally great Six by Seven. Not that you'd know it from listening to this. Where Six by Seven is an ambitious post-emo rock band, Twelve is an odd Americana-cum-electronica project, sacrificing coherency and craftsmanship at the altar of playfulness and confusion. Starting off with the four-minutes drone of twenty-four electric guitars that is Intro, 'First Album' is anything but coherent and considered. There are a couple of really great single moments on here, though, most particularly Talkin' About, the album's centrepiece and defining moment; eleven minutes of epic sadcore Americana, shimmering with whispered sentiments and quiet grandiosity. The subdued big beat of Travellin' Light, Police Cars, and Part II, on the other hand, seem to be little more than failed attempts at exploring repetition through overused means. Olley has a far better grasp of crafted songwriting than he has of electronic drone-making, although one can hardly fault his willingness to branch out and try something new. 'First Album' is full of conflict, but lacking direction, although a couple of truly great songs makes this one worth hearing at least once. Olley bundles together some great ideas, but lacks coherency in all other aspects than a general sense of vague discomfort, and hope in spite of everyday misery. It's hard to see what Olley's trying to do here, but on the album's best songs, it's fun to see him getting here slowly.

Stein Haukland
March-April 2004