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Datawaslost : Beep Click Strum Sing Compilation

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Coltrane Motion
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The Most Powerful Telescope In The Universe
The Moonlight's Fair..


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Tracklisting 01 Opening Track
02 . Lupita
03 . You're Not To Blame My Dear
04 . I Still Don't Know
05 . Shadow And Light
06 . Things We Can't Say
07 . Powerlines
08 . I Am A Delicate Flower
09 . A Thing Or Two About Last Night
10 . I Shouldn't Have Gone Anywhere
11 . You Can't Say No To Anyone But Me
12 . Never Never Again
13 . I Dont Think I Would Call This Healthy For Anyone
14 . Closing Track
Travels The World : I Can't Ask You To Break My Heart Anymore
DWL023 / IOR007-1 . Released 2001 . Out of Print
Description Solo LP from Mike Fair (Haleymill, The Throbs) - released on Ionik, distributed by Datawaslost.
Reviews I'd be happy to spend a Sunday afternoon in the kitschily, poppily, '80s glam-rock-reminiscent universe of Travels The World's Mike Fair. My lack of an emo taboo (Surely all emo is taboo? -- Ed.) actually makes it enjoyable to bask in the sunshine of small and catchy tunes, while bobbing my head -- and occasionally shaking my booty -- to the singer's cute little insecurities. It's just that there's no way Fair is going to get away with that voice of his; he sounds like a pre-adolescent Robert Pollard mixed with Billy Corgan. The vocals are so childish and nagging that at first I thought I Can't Ask... was intended as an emo parody. Fortunately, Fair has a couple of tricks that keep his vocals from numbing the listener: he sometimes alters his voice to sound more nasal, or English, and he also shares the spotlight with occasional guest vocalists (both male and female), as well as a clip from a Woody Allen movie. But none of it really works. The album works its way through simplified accounts of relationships ("Lupita") and stripped down '80s beats ("A Thing or Two About Last Night" and "Powerlines"), but it isn't until the second-to-last track, "I Don't Think I Would Call This Healthy For Anyone", that the music manages to sound grown-up and sincere. Between "I Don't Think..." and the short, aptly-titled "Closing Track", the album comes to a better ending than might be expected.

- Splendid . October 29, 2001

Well, this certainly puts the "lof" in lo-fi. But that shouldn't really mean anything to you because "lof" isn't actually a word. What we do get is a collection of amateurish (this is by no means a bad thing) pop songs that are filled with the hooks, riffs, and melodies to blow your mind. There is also a healthy dose of experimentalism, which I certainly don't object to. Many of these songs have to do with love, tending towards the more sad side of the subject (Badly Drawn Boy, anyone?). Although this album is very unique, there seems to be a few influences from other artists, including the others on the Ionik Records roster (many of which are affiliated with Mike Fair, aka Travels The World). The one noticeable thing is that all of these pieces seem to be happy songs with happy guitars, happy drum machines, and happy vocals, despite the fact that some of these songs deal with such topics as being in love with someone who doesn't love you back, drinking your troubles away, and being chased by an enraged goat. Wait, the goat thing isn't on here. Rats. Well, despite the absence of the goat topic, this is still an engaging 13-song album. If you haven't done so already, perhaps it would be best to listen to some of the other albums on the Ionik Records roster before going out and getting this.

- Indieville . December 4, 2001

Boy likes music. Boy listens to music. Boy buys drumset/drum machine, bass, and guitar. Boy learns to play various instruments. Boy falls in love with girl/girls. Girl/girls doesn't/don't fall in love with boy. Boy writes/performs/records collection of 13 songs chronicling the experiences of loving and losing. Sound familiar?
Fair wears his emotions on his sleeve for 13 tracks, rolling through chirpy little ditties and slower, droning pieces, as well as two quickie acoustic instrumental numbers that bookend the collection. The instrumentation is simple, of course - guitar, bass, drums, and voice, all of which are Fair's handiwork. The songs are catchy, the vocals slightly off-key, and overall I Can't Ask You to Break My Heart Anymore comes off as a really clumsy effort - in a cute sort of way. Sometimes. The 'clumsiness' has the potential to create a nice effect, like on the duet "I Still Don't Know," where Helen Barton's co-vocals sound downright angelic next to Fair's somewhat nasal, monotone style. The track works well, though, with the vocal couplets coming off like listening to the cute and harmless twin cousins of Cast Aside.
Another shining moment is the rolling "I Am a Delicate Flower," which captures a delicate, 'roaming' vibe and rides it through some cutely monotone vocals and out to a very nice, gentle guitar solo. At over four minutes, it's the record's longest and most tedious track, though it really is nice in it's own little way. "Lupita" is a pure nugget of raw pop, sounding like a toneless, slightly off-key garage Elvis Costello. Of course, Fair wears his heart on his sleeve proudly, proclaiming "Because I have a past where I trust too fast / And I should've known better with a girl like Lupita." In all fairness, this does acknowledge that this failure was pretty evenly split responsibility-wise, which seems pretty uncharacteristic for music of this demeanor.
Still, 'cute' can only go so far musically, and while Fair's basic musical nature creates some nice listens, there are certainly some lulls here. Beyond the previously mentioned tracks, Fair's voice is just far too monotonous and droning at times, and the material itself is somewhat spotty. Certainly, there are some catchy listens here, and it's always nice to hear a garage singer/songwriter trying to put an upbeat spin on what basically amounts to a record of pretty sad personal stories. Overall, though, even despite the few really cool tracks, I Can't Ask You to Break My Heart Anymore is a little too hit-or-miss to fully recommend. Still, I'm sure big fans of the genre would probably find this a pretty worthwhile listen.

- Delusions Of Adequacy . 2001

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