I am not completely convinced that Gropius' new album isn't one long song, one tiresome, meandering, second-encore rendition of "Gold Dust Woman," or maybe "Gypsy." (Actually, anything by Stevie Nicks would fit the bill.) Maybe I just keep losing my place among the nine tracks on Indelicate, a feat with a relatively low degree of difficulty, as each and every song seems to be little more than an alternate version of the one before it. Rarely, if ever, do the songs go anywhere, content to continue circling the runway until they run out of gas and drop from the sky -- mind you, without the excitement that might entail. If only one song on this disc had something even marginally as interesting as that, then Indelicate might be more than the soundtrack to a long, comfortable nap. Perhaps that's why I keep losing my place.
Taking its name from Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus architecture movement (which is oh-so Goth of the band), the group has songs that bank on Julie Carpenter's violin, Amy Boyd's viola, and the patience of the listener to sit through 45 minutes of little else. And there really isn't anything else on Gropius' follow-up to last year's dreary Songs for Walter, unless you're willing to count singer Melissa Adams' limited arsenal of moans-groans and the just-picking-up-a-paycheck rhythm section of bassist Matthew Koch and drummer Rich Sanchez. But you shouldn't, because Adams' voice is, at best, distracting, and you have to recheck the credits to make sure Koch and Sanchez actually appear on the disc. For better or worse, Indelicate belongs to Carpenter and Boyd, and all too often, it's the latter.
Not that Carpenter and Boyd aren't skilled at their respective instruments. And, in fact, Carpenter proved at last year's Rock Lottery at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios that, with the right band (in that instance, Mandarin's Jason Wortham, Joe Cripps, and Slobberbone's Tony Harper), her violin not only has a place in a rock band, but can be mesmerizing as well. Yet, if nothing else, Indelicate is a fine example of why the classical and rock worlds should maintain a measured distance from each other, mainly because they sound so awkward together. (See also: Metallica's S&M and anything including classic-rock back catalog coverage by the London Philharmonic.) For the most part, the entire disc sounds like old Cure songs as heard through the tiny, tinny speakers of an elevator. Either that, or they're emasculated karaoke versions, and no one can remember any of the words. It's probably a little of both, as Adams oozes and ahs over the top of Carpenter and Boyd's tangled ball of strings, and the songs go about their not-so-merry way, and keep going. And going.
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