The Meeting Places
Find Yourself Along The Way
2004
C+



hidden beneath the pages of A Lover’s Discourse, Roland Barthes reflects upon the torturous trials of waiting. The shifting acts of doubt and concern that consume the mind of the person who is condemned to sit alone. Trapped within their own thoughts. Central to this brief discourse is, of course, the meeting place. The pre-arranged meeting place is a crucial precursor to the process of waiting and, hence, perhaps to blame for all of this discomfort. Find Yourself Along The Way turns this concept around. Have you ever found yourself waiting for Slowdive? The Jesus and Mary Chain? Does your missing lover have an effect pedal fetish? The Meeting Places can provide some relief for your pain.

Obviously we’re talking shoegazing. Derivative shoegazing, at that. With a side-order of dream pop. Incidentally, ‘shoegazing’ is a terrible name for a genre; it conjures up all the wrong images. Hearing this kind of stuff doesn’t make you want to peer intently at your footwear at all. What kind of genre would? One that’s faintly embarrassing? Hmm… that’s just asking for a cheap joke. Let’s step away from this philosophical cul-de-sac. From this day forth, I shall refer to ‘shoegazing’ only as ‘whirly-spinning-open-armed-sky-embracing-dream-warmth’.

Ok, maybe just for this review. An experiment, if you will.

If you’ve been paying any kind of attention at all to developments in whirly-spinning-open-armed-sky-embracing-dream-warmth (I think it’s working) you probably already know what Find Yourself Along The Way sounds like. No, really, you do. For everyone else; this type of record sounds like the audio equivalent of attempting to stroke an exceptionally fluffy kitten. Backwards. Fur density may differ, as may the volume of purring—and in the case of the Jesus and Mary Chain the kitten inevitably gets pissed off and scratches you with tetanus-inducing claws. Otherwise, that just about covers it.

Here’s how the entire record breaks down when fed into my highly superficial whirly-spinning-open-armed-sky-embracing-dream-warmth (still going well, I think) to kitten metaphor ratio table... device... thing:

Fur Density: Middling fluffiness.
Purr Volume: Fair, with occasional mewling.
Potential Kitten Anger: Low risk.
Tetanus: Unlikely.

Although you may not realise it, the exact album specifications have just been presented in painstakingly scientific fashion. Petri dishes may have been involved. It is now quite clear to the naked eye that The Meeting Places have created a whirly-spinning-open-armed-sky-embracing-dream-warmth (stick with it) record which makes considerable use of effect pedals, has the (male, gentle) vocals relatively high in the mix, remains almost entirely laid back and ... err.. won’t give you tetanus. I can exclusively reveal that after several attentive listens my nervous system remains entirely spasm free, save for a little hipster head-nodding. The method works!

Despite being perfectly marvellous in the greater context of whirly-spinning-open-armed-sky-embracing-dream-warmth (see, it’s almost seamless now) and a solid work in its own right, Find Yourself Along The Way inevitably suffers from sounding rather too familiar rather too frequently. Of course, some people just can’t get enough of stroking kittens the wrong way. They will, quite rightly, love much of what they hear. Others may only be content with the absolute creme-de-la-creme of reverse feline attention and wonder why they’re now having to buy even more cans of Mr. Fat Cat™ than normal. Shame on them, they’d be missing a treat.



Reviewed by: Peter Parrish
Reviewed on: 2004-08-02
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