Kurt Vile & the Violators
Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 5/12
The Retrospective Soundtrack Players
The Catcher in the Rye
Written by: BV on 01/11/2012 13:45:38
The Retrospective Soundtrack Players is name that doesn’t necessarily ring a lot of bells, and with good reason I suppose. These guys move around in a particularly peculiar musical circle, where they are hell-bent on making music inspired by popular works of fiction – their newest album being inspired by J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”, which is coincidentally the title of their album. Since I am already a fan of the novel by Salinger, this concept immediately picked my interest. The Retrospective tend to vary in their expression and genres but they primarily seem to stick with punk rock, folk and pop. The band itself describes their music as being inspired by their favorite cult movies and books, and therefore I expected a sort of coherent connection between the actual book and the album of the same name. However, I don’t necessarily see the specific connection between most of the songs and the passages, places and moods of the book that they’re trying to relate to. With that being said, most of the material does function quite well on its own. I personally favor the acoustic folk elements of the album, as I feel that these are the most exciting tracks and because I felt that I could actually relate them to the book. A great example of this is the track “For Phoebe” which I really feel captures that aura of youth anxiety that is ever-present throughout the original novel.
On the other hand, the punk rock part of the album doesn’t really appeal to me even though this particular genre seems perfect for portraying youthful anxiety, which has been the case on many different releases by other artists. In this case however, I don’t think most of the punk rock songs capture the essence of the overall themes of the book, with the exception of the title track. Perhaps I am biased, since punk rock isn’t exactly my favorite genre, but I firmly believe that the tracks can’t really stand on their own, without the concept backing them. In my opinion, they sound far too anonymous and I am having a really tough time remembering which track is which. An ideal situation for this album from my point of view would be if the more folk-like elements of their songwriting could be integrated into their punk rock side. I am not even sure if it would work, but it is certainly something I think could help improve on the anonymity issue.
In general, I have mixed feelings about this album, but in the end I do find it rather favorable. I still don’t think I’ll be remembering this particular release in a year’s time, but you never know. It just doesn’t seem to be an album that gets under the listeners skin, but I will certainly keep an eye out for The Retrospective Soundtrack Players in the future, because I like the concept and I am quite curious to see how it will evolve over time.
Download: The Catcher in the Rye, For Phoebe
For The Fans Of: Weezer, The Gaslight Anthem
Release Date 15.10.2012
Xtra Mile Recordings
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