For Against

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Echelons (1987), 6.5/10
December (1989), 6/10
Aperture , 5/10
Mason's California Lunchroom , 5/10
Shelf Life , 5/10
Coalesced , 5/10
Shade Side Sunny Side (2008), 5/10
Never Been (2009), 4/10

A Lincoln (Nebraska) si formarono i For Against, cloni dei gruppi Britannici della generazione di Joy Division e Simple Minds. Jeffrey Runnings, basso marziale e canto perennemente in trance, Harry Dingman, rintocchi di dissonanze e riverberi chitarristici, e Greg Hill, batteria frenetica alla Stewart Copeland, si rivelarono con il dance-pop dell'album Echelons (Independent Project, 1987 - Words On Music, 2004), pregno di un calmo senso di fatalismo, una versione meno lugubre dei Joy Division: melodie estatiche su battito ipnotico (Shine) o quasi robotico (Daylight, Loud And Clear) e persino frenetico (It's A Lie), filastrocche propulse da jingle-jangle di chitarra (Get On With It), atmosfere esoteriche colme di suspense (la title-track). If English is your first language and you could translate the Italian text, please contact me.
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December (Independent Project, 1989 - Words on Music, 2005) was a baroque exercise in atmospheric pop. The melodic aspect was enhanced without sacrificing the offbeat quality of the songs. A few songs were mildly aggressive, starting with opener Sabres, a disco-punk anthem that echoes Siouxsie Sioux or Joy Division over a steady beat and swirling middle-eastern guitar. Stranded in Greenland, on the other hand, borrows from Police. Clandestine High Holy lays those post-punk influences on top of forceful semi-boogie rhythm; and Svengali balances the hypnotic, driving and melancholy elements of these songs. On the quiet front, For Against pens the oneiric lullaby The Effect, and the Indian-esque litany December, but mostly indulges in the poppy harmonies of They Said, The Last Laugh and Paperwhites. Catchy refrains, solid rhythms and oneiric arrangements combine to create powerful songs. (Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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L'EP In The Marshes (1990 - Words And Music, 2007) sembro` chiudere la storia di questo sfortunato trio riportando alla luce alcune gemme melodiche del 1986, rimaste escluse dai due album: Amnesia e Fate su tutte, ma anche The Purgatory Salesman e Amen Yves.

A sorpresa nel 1994 il gruppo rinacque, con la formazione rivoluzionata attorno all'unico sopravvissuto Jeffrey Runnings, e si ripresento` in splendida forma con un singolo (Don't Do Me Any Favors, Breathless, Spent le sue tre gemme) e un album, Aperture (Rainbow Quartz, 1993), viziato da un eccesso di malinconia (Today Today), cosi` come il successivo Mason's California Lunchroom (Rainbow, 1995) e la sua delicata Hindsight.

Shelf Life (World Domination, 1997) chiudera` la partita.

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After a five-year hiatus, Coalesced (World Music, 2002) opens with a tribute to the Byrds (the sprightly jingle-jangling Medication) and then indulges in languid, romantic mid-tempo ballads (best melody in Outside a Heart). Off the beaten track, the seven-minute Coalesced climbs up a psychedelic crescendo in the vein of early Pink Floyd, and the closing instrumental Love You gently lulls the mini-album to a transcendental dimension. For Against is now the trio of Jeffrey Runnings (bass and vocals), Steven Hinrichs (guitar) and Paul Engelhard (drums).

Shade Side Sunny Side (World Music, 2008), featuring original guitarist Harry Dingman, contained some of their best material in 20 years. After an overture of menacing electronic hums, tribal drums and agonizing guitar, the six-minute Glamour weaves a tuneful tale over a strong guitar riff and a danceable beat. The melodic approach of Echo & The Bunnymen and Joy Division is evident in the folk-rock ditty Underestimate that evokes the Sixties in its own teisted manner. On the other hand, the seven-minute piano ballad Game Over is a brainy recital in the vein of post-rock, with syncopated beats stacked up against crescendoes of guitar feedback.

Never Been (Words Music, 2009) is a bit too shy. The highlight is the Indian-esque hymn Sameness that segues into a catchy Byrds-ian refrain with a propulsive beat and psychedelic garnish. The brief atmospheric instrumental Black Willows, the languid seven-minute piano-tinged elegy Of A Time and the spectral closer You Fade are elegant and tasteful but hardly original.

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