steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Let's Build a Fire" CD

& Records

Genre: indie rock, indie pop

May 2006

Ex-Versus James Baluyut has been running +/- for over half a decade now, and they still don't get the respect they deserve. Their last two albums, a self-titled debut and 2003's You Are Here, were terrific samplings of electronic-injected indie rock - somewhere between Versus and Dismemberment Plan -and yet their third has yet to come out in the USA, though Japanese label And put it out last December. Apparently Japan has better taste than we do, as this release is just another fine chapter in Baluyut's ever-growing legacy.

The album starts off on a strong note with the monumental title track, which begins with a White Town-esque jazz loop backing an infectious vocal melody before dropping into a colossal rock song. The slow-building tension in "Fadeout" harkens back to Versus heavily, and "Steal the Blueprints" vehicles for a warm and terrific melody. The next three tunes exemplify the band's more sensitive side, before "One Day You'll Be There" plants great pop hooks in a fiercely unconventional song structure.

Let's Build a Fire, which could easily take a few best-of-year honours, is proof that Baluyut remains among the most important of indie rock songwriters around today.


Fun Fact: This album has been out for months in Japan, but has yet to be released in North America.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2006]