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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY MAX ASAYESH-BROWN | St. Petersburg High
If you’re not a religious fan of singer-songwriter Alison Sudol, beware: She can confuse you. If you weren’t highly anticipating the album, or hadn’t heard her previous work, then the likelihood of this happening pretty much doubles, like it did for me.
This confusion came about halfway through Pines, which opens ominously to seven straight minutes of melodious but gloomy humming. Sudol’s delicate voice is plainly beautiful, and throughout the sameness is the album’s essential artery.
The bulk of the music is smooth, consistent but repetitive. The instrumental use is mellow and subtle, which is fitting to the indie genre into whose lap Sudol has fallen. But at track seven, Sailingsong, the music does a complete 180. Quiet, relaxed acoustic harmonies turn into bubblegum pop bits I would never expect to find on the same album as Winds of Wander or Riversong.
So with Pines, A Fine Frenzy hands us the anomaly of an album that suffers irksomely from redundancy (at times I was lost in terms of whether one song had ended or another had begun), but at the same time, in terms of genres and the general feel, is all over the map. It is a queer thing.
Sudol’s attempts to counter the imminent monotony of the gloomier, quieter portions with its polar opposite are interesting but not effective. She would have better luck with variety in her element: indie spotlight. But while most of the album is repetitive, the beauty of her fragile voice cannot go unnoticed, and it makes it a uniformity you don’t mind getting used to (that is, until the music turns into something more Glee’s speed). Overall, Pines is a puzzle. It is consistent and inconsistent, and if Sudol put more effort in switching around the gears in the former she would be able to avoid the drastic measures through the latter.