Search Parties full length LP, The Past, is an experimental endeavor that combines punk, spoken word, alt-country and folk, to name a few. Unfortunately, the experimental nature of the album comes off sounding more unpracticed than anything else, and the wide variety of genres gives it a disjointed feel.
The opening track, “Monologue for a Street-Preacher, Vancouver, 01/10” sets the tone for what is to come, beginning with a chorus before devolving into the eerie, guilt-inducing sermon of a madman. A word of advice to anyone recording spoken word: hydrate.
There are a few diamonds in the rough and singer/songwriter Harlan Shore is undoubtedly a powerful storyteller. “Have a Little Faith in Me” is a verbal journey across B.C., likely to strike a chord with anyone who has taken the beautiful but lonesome drive through the Interior. Incorporating cello and strong male harmonizing, this is the album’s stand out track. “Winter” opens with instrumentals that could easily be the backing track to a sweet romantic scene in a movie, while “2 Waltzes” has an impressively intense crescendo finish. Those gems are not enough to make up for songs like “Baby” which consists of flat vocals and sluggish drumming.
If the band didn’t appear to take themselves so seriously it would all be much easier to digest, but the off key, off tempo sound does not seem to be at all tongue in cheek. This is not a case of charmingly out of tune dissonance. It just doesn’t work.