Nothing Happens for a Reason (Eyeball)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Feb. 13, 2009
PompeiiNothing Happens for a Reason (Eyeball)
Pompeii's sophomore LP opens with the instrumental "Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads," which may be true given the quartet's soaring pop ambitions. Like fellow locals AM Syndicate and Low Line Caller, Pompeii swirls with mellow but anthemic bursts, glistening guitars intricately woven with strings. "False Alarm" and "What Kind of Future" prove impressively textured musically, but Dean Stafford's vocals, pitching forever higher, sound flattened in the mix and drip with a watered-down emo sensibility. Similar to the band's 2006 debut, Assembly, "The Viking" and "Ready/Not Ready" veer toward Death Cab for Cutie, both in sound and Stafford's nasally, Gibbard-esque croon, but "Sit and Wait" succeeds best behind more tempered vocal strains. With most of the songs stretching over five minutes, including the seven-minute closing title track, the formula frays quickly, despite the absorbing instrumental work. Pompeii might do better to find a road less worn.