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Conveyor – Conveyor July 24, 2012

Posted by gwyoung in Album Reviews, Music.
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Artist: Conveyor

Album: Conveyor

Release: Paper Garden, 2012

Genre: Experimental

RIYD: Sung Tongs, Azeda Booth, Yeasayer, Danielson

A lot of music fans on the interwebs have been claiming that 2012 is “the next 2009”, mostly because the biggest bands from that year are all releasing new “comeback” albums. Though three years isn’t exactly long enough for them to really be classified as comebacks, they have a point: we’ve already heard Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan and Passion Pit’s Gossamer and are still waiting on Grizzly Bear’s Shields, The xx’s Coexist, Dan Deacon’s America, and Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz. Combined with all of the other excellent follow-ups from Grimes, Ramona Falls, Here We Go Magic, Liars, and Fiona Apple, it seems like 2012 is more of a year for already-popular artists perfecting their sounds than for new musical projects. That means that a lot of new bands, such as the subject of this review, will unfortunately get lost under the radar amidst a pile of hype for the more highly-anticipated records.

This is truly a shame, especially since bands like Conveyor are putting out albums like this, their self-titled debut. Due to the increasing web-globalization of independent music, it’s getting harder and harder to find musicians who, instead of ripping off a sound that is already popular, aim to make something truly original. Though different parts of Conveyor call to mind artists as diverse as Azeda Booth, Radiohead, Animal Collective, Sufjan Stevens, and Danielson, their composition of these disparate elements of folk, electronics, and ambient noise results in a sound that is fresh and unexpected. In addition, each track on Conveyor is a microcosm of the originality embodied by the album as a whole. Over eleven tracks comprised of whimsical melodies, washes of aching beauty, and isolated emotional bursts, Conveyor never repeat themselves once. Though their willingness to experiment often results in dead-ends, especially with some of the seemingly nonsensical lyrics (see “Short Hair”), their playful ADD accounts for a lot of their charm.

I find that the art that makes the greatest impact on me is the kind that makes me wonder how the artist ever came up with the idea behind the work, and that sentiment is felt throughout the entirety of Conveyor. From the primal scream erupting at the midpoint of the lazy folk melody “Two Davids” to the syncopated electronic textures of the latter half of “Mane” to the propulsive synth and horn motif sprinkled throughout closer “Anne”, Conveyor’s sound is about the individual moments that emerge organically from the music as opposed to the structure of the songs themselves. This may be because most of the songs lack any typical sense of structure, but I feel the same way about each of these moments as I feel about good art. Conveyor’s debut is a bizarre yet endearingly quirky album of original sounds, and though it’s initial charm is in its interesting ideas, the creative songwriting ability behind it makes it a 2012 essential that won’t be easily dismissed.

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1. The Top 20 Musical Releases of 2012 « safer in the dark - December 19, 2012

[…] self-titled debut is at times annoyingly contrived (see the intro to “Mane”) or lyrically shallow (see “Short […]


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