Our Love To Admire isn’t even a contractual obligation to push off without care. But boy does it sound like one; a band phoning it in, out of steam, and running on a few lingering fumes and smoldering coals.
Except for the admittedly awesome surf-rock instrumental 'Reflecting,' there’s nothing done on Circular Sounds that you can’t find done better on old vinyl, battered mixtapes, and (shudder) Counting Crows albums.
Off to Business--released eponymously by Guided By Voices, Inc.--is the ultimate product of this trend: an album full of ebullient mid-tempo rockers, ebullient pretty guitar parts, and ebullient power drum fills.
Lily’s nonchalant declarations of self-esteem leave me cold. And as soon as she traded generically upbeat ska/reggae samples for a bunch of ho-hum electropop beats, she became indistinguishable from her imitators.
There’s no sense of cohesion or flow between any of these songs, partially due to a clear lack of thought devoted to these conceits, but mostly because every M. Ward- and Conor Oberst-penned song sounds the same lately.