CEP - Drawing the Target Around the Arrow

Drawing the Target Around the Arrow

For fans, news of Chairlift's sudden breakup was shocking and odd due in part to their last record being really quite good. It's pointless to speculate on the reasons, however in interview Caroline Polachek has said that taking a break from the sounds and style of Chairlift was necessary to recharge and regroup. Her break however has brought about this new record Drawing the Target Around the Arrow. The album is nothing like you would expect from a world class vocalist like Polachek as it is completely devoid of singing and instead is a sine wave synth experiment. Many of the tracks barely exist like "Borg Pillow" where it feels more like you are listening to robotic breath rather than a song. Much of the record follows suit with track after track of this very sparse, very repetitive sounds. At times the massive amount of space Polachek gives these tracks allows them to be odd and different in really interesting ways, but for the most part it just sounds like almost nothing. Drawing the Target Around the Arrow could be a white noise machine in another life, but it is just a little to dark and foreboding to be used as a sleep aide. What is missing from the early part of the record is some kind of change up, a bright tone to spark your interest or another play on the sine wave synth to make it stand out, but we never get that. This record slides to the background of almost any situation, never taking center stage and thus becoming a bit irrelevant.

As a whole the album feels very organic simply based how much of it breath based. In and out you can feel the music swell into existence and then retreat. Often times you find your mind wandering thinking about anything but the record, not because it is bad but because it just seems to become a part of everything. The song titles are really your only guidepost for trying to figure out just what is going on or what the intention of a particular track is. You can look at this one of two ways, either Polachek is trying to describe these very particular things with the sine wave synth or she just wants to put that image in your mind as a starting point. Either way it is interesting but not all together that enjoyable. It goes to show how nuanced music can be, it doesn't have to be all pop or all experimental, and you are allowed to like both equally. This record allows you the freedom to put whatever context you want on each track, it just gives you all this space to be in your own head. This record made writing an interesting exercise, but I'll likely never listen to it again, and holding those two ideas in my mind at one time might be the whole point.

7.8 out of 10


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