Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Feb. 18, 2005
Our Grievances (Vainglorious)
One of the most intriguing finds from Beerland's Disco Hospital coterie, the Innocent casts a wide net over subterranean Eighties ennui with an eye toward separating the pathos from the posh. While not every tangent explored here is entirely cohesive, Our Grievances never gets bogged down under the weight of bloated ambition. "A Union of Merit (Wedding March)" serves as grand overture by way of an experimental Raymond Scott outtake breaking up on a transistor radio. The dramatic, pained vocals of Brit transplant Travis Timmons are introduced on the lo-fi Gang of Four-flavored "Western Coastal Highway." His highly stylized approach is both the most divisive and most distinctive element in the Innocent's sound. Not everyone will like it, but Timmons' refusal to allow self-consciousness to reign in his raw performance instincts is quite laudable. The local quartet hits a good midalbum stride with the Church-like psych-pop of "Youth and Beauty," the lush 4AD overtones of "Pretty People Need Each Other," and the gloomily anthemic "Open a Vein for the Working Class." A woodwind-driven instrumental is the last thing you'd expect to find here, but Andy Hadaway's "Your Eyes Are Just Like Mine" only furthers the rich emotive heft, as does "My Father's Face," the sadly familiar piano ballad closing out Our Grievances. Despite the album's shoestring nature, the sense of incipient potential is vast and vivid.