Album Review
1:15 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Sometimes: Moral Superiority

'Moral Superiority' by Sometimes

After a string of singles, several different arrangements, re-mixes and re-recording sessions, Sometimes out of Batavia, OH have compiled 6 tracks into a full-length album entitled "Moral Superiority," released by Apollo99 Records.

Sometimes is Jacob Levin, Gabriel Molnar, Kevin Poole and Steve Wethington.  The album was recorded by Steve Wethington at New Fidelity Productions in Northside and mastered by Todd McHenry.

It is difficult to define and describe this band. Though they tout themselves as a "shoegaze" band, I found some real surprises while listening to "Moral Superiority" that simultaneously define and defy the 'pigeonholing' of the genre.

"Moral Superiority" incorporates a lovely blend of samples and live performance that weaves a textural landscape of sound. Layered upon and dancing amid this scenery is an elaborate mix of sonic exploration and vocal harmonies.

Opening the album is "The City and The City."  This song was originally produced in 2011 with a heavier guitar-driven sound and was part of a dual-track release with the flip-side being "The City and The Electricity," a more synth-pop, techno-driven version of the song.  In the version that made it to "Moral Superiority," the band has struck a balance somewhere in-between, but it is in no way a compromise.

Admittedly though, at times the 'shoegaze' brand fits - especially in the somber tone and attitude of the poetry.  The words dig deep down to express loss and longing and a seemingly unending sense of surrender.

Now look what you've done,
to all your old clothes,
well, I've see the photographs,
or was it the shows,
So let's take the time,
and regret everything,
or maybe just go for drinks.
- "50 Sets of Beestings"
 

One of the 'oldest' of Sometime's songs on the album is "Cattle Drive," first released in 2010.  Having played and re-played this song countless times, it is evident that the members of the band know each phrase of the song intimately and they perform it with an almost sensual tenderness.

One of the surprises I mentioned earlier came in the fourth song on the album, "Small Smiles."  As fitting to the style, most of the tracks on "Moral Superiority" reach five or six minutes or longer. "High Horse" comes in at a whopping nine and a half minutes.  However, by comparison, "Small Smiles" is a mere riff at 3:58.  I found the guitar tone as well as the vocal timbre to be reminiscent of brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood [Meat Puppets].

Although, technically-speaking, it is the band's first full-length release, because of the amount of time, energy and work it took for Sometimes to create "Moral Superiority," the recording clearly displays a level of maturity and cohesion that many bands lack their first time around.

"Moral Superiority" by Sometimes is available at Bandcamp.com or at Rock, Paper Scissors.

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