steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Envy Corps

"Soviet Reunion" CD

Bi-Fi Records

Genres: indie rock, indie pop, dream pop

Bi-Fi Records
PO Box 1327
Ames IA 50014

Sep 26 - Oct 3 2004

To ignore The Envy Corps' similarities to Radiohead and Coldplay would be downright dishonest, although I do think they get more slack than they deserve because of it.  Soviet Reunion is a serious, dramatic pop album - the singing may resemble that of Thom Yorke, and the infectious, jangly guitars may recall certain Parachutes tendencies, but the overall approach is strikingly listenable.  If you just let yourself go, The Envy Corps will know where to take you.

After a brief and, as far as indie pop discs go, increasingly customary ambient intro, the band gets things started with the third and second parts of "You'd Look Good In Wings," a trilogy without a beginning.  In a clever bit of programming, part three comes first on the disc, heading things off in a spacey, flowing vein.  The second part is tighter and - perhaps - more accessible, exploiting the public's current love of chiming guitars and dreamy choruses.  Prickly, jangled guitar solos complement the song's lush texture - given a bit of publicity, this could become huge.

After the album's initial two-parter, we guide ourselves through eight other songs, all of which continue in the theme of dreamy and dramatic indie rock.  "Prisoners of War" and "A Letter to Our Senator" are two of Soviet Reunion's best songs - the former is distinctly drastic and sweeping, with the Yorke-esque vocals given particular focus; the latter, meanwhile, is slow and twinkly, armed with some beautiful hooks and a peaceful, relaxing mood.  The other songs are all solid, but few stick out - the band's formula is fairly constant throughout Soviet Reunion, so only the songs with "single" potential manage to distinguish themselves from the rest.

Soviet Reunion makes for the ultimate dream rock getaway disc.  Although this album can be fairly derivative at times, that should not distract any true pop fan from listening to it over and over.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]