The Meeting Places' debut was a listenable if ultimately unsurprising slice of 21st century shoegaze and Numbered Days readily continues where it left off with cascading guitar riffs, dreamy vocals, and more besides. If anything, the sound they started with has been perfected to a fault, and while one can easily put this album on as fine background music first and foremost, it's the subtler touches which stand out all the more precisely because they spike the well-established formula. The piano part on "Until It's Gone" and the melancholy guitar-as-radio-signal feedback underneath the chorus of "Hall of Fame" show that they can be deft to good effect. Perhaps what's best -- and in a way, what's most frustrating -- is hearing when the band suddenly, thrillingly takes to the skies. Consider the airborne guitar breaks on "Nothing's the Same," when the scope of the song expands to widescreen, or how the repeated line "You wait alone" on "Sink into Stone"'s near Smashing Pumpkins-level volume of riffing becomes the tense heart of that song. If the Meeting Places could just have more of these moments throughout, they'd really be onto something big time, but there's something too safe about them still -- the great leap forward isn't yet apparent. If nothing else, though, given shoegaze's reputation as a style that elevates sound qua sound over clarity as such, having a song called "Mumble" shows a sly sense of humor at work.
|Label:||Words On Music|