“The World Gets Younger,” the first track on Argentine’s In Other Fictions, begins slowly. Glacial, melancholic reverbed guitars ring out and stretch on into forever while vocalist Ian Carpenter lays down his relaxed, world-weary vocals. Four minutes in, everything reaches a breaking point and the band begins to rock out. It’s a big song, imparting an atmosphere as vast and cold as the ocean itself.
Such is the case for all the songs on this, the band’s debut album. Argentine takes their time on these 8 tracks of beautiful, spacey power-pop, moving at a slow pace and letting the pretty melodies stretch out for all they’re worth. Their mellow style brings to mind early Radiohead, Death Cab For Cutie, and occasionally Low, among others. It’s nothing particularly new, but it is remarkably solid, and they manage to keep things refreshing and poignant.
The afforementioned opener, “The World Gets Younger,” is definitely one of the strongest cuts here, but there are plenty of other good ones to follow. “Ender/Beginner,” among the album’s darkest in tone, features a soaring chorus worth listening to over and over, and the beautiful title track makes use of violinist Mocha Ishibashi and viola player Chris Curtis, as well as some very pretty guitar work.
Lying at the heart of the album is its catchiest and most accessible song, “Slumberslide.” Beginning with the rattle of quiet shakers and more reverbed guitar, it moves along and builds to a singalong chorus, finishing off with a hand-clapping finale with soaring harmonies. It’s the album’s brightest moment, and it’s followed up by another great track, “Westerly.” “Checks and Balances,” the obvious closer, caps off the album in lovely fashion, with pleasant guitar and a chorus of “It comes around.”
Like Radiohead and Low, the band mixes their melancholy with a sense of hope. This is the kind of band you hold close to your heart, that works as a soundtrack to your darker moments while reminding you of your brighter ones. Some may find the album a bit predictable, and the lack of variation between the songs may make it difficult for some to distinguish between them, but if listeners are willing to be patient, they’ll find plenty of rewards here. Argentine does their music well, and if this debut is any indication, they are on their way to becoming something very special. Here’s hoping they’ll release more soon.
Written by Richie DeMaria.