Have you ever had the musical equivalent of an awkward date? You know, the kind of date where you both tick the right boxes and it looks really promising on paper, but you both end up avoiding eye contact, whilst sitting in an uncomfortable silence? I’m afraid, this is mine.
This is the third album from Thomas White, under the guise of The Fiction Aisle. I wanted to like this. It ticks a lot of my boxes; it’s indie, it’s a bit Pulpy, it’s a bit Mozzery, it’s that bloke that has done stuff with British Sea Power, and I like a fair amount of their stuff. But it’s just not working for me.
Like the awkward date, I just cannot connect with this. It’s not that this is a bad album; it’s not. It’s a ‘nice’ collection of songs, arranged nicely, with a nice mix of sounds, and I think that this is the problem. On my first listen through, I tried multitasking with some other work, and nothing particularly grabbed my attention. It was pleasant background noise, it’s wistful and reflective, but there is no real standout moment here. Nothing made me stop what I was doing, and fully focus on what was playing.
Don’t worry, I have given this album a fair crack, and have now listened to it without any distractions. There are a couple of promising moments, ‘Black River’ starts off sounding like it could be classic We Are Scientists, but then doesn’t quite deliver. ‘Memory’, starting against a more electronic backdrop, would be my favourite track from Jupiter, Florida, but even then, after listening, it doesn’t really stick in my mind afterwards, rather ironically. There are parts that start to remind me of childhood summers in the 1970s, such as the chorus to ‘Some Things Never Die’, and the intro to the final track, ‘Will I Get Where I’m Going Before I’m Ready?’, but it doesn’t quite transport me there, and that is the problem. It’s a collection of near misses, and I feel bad that it just doesn’t quite manage to engage me, because it certainly should.
There is a positive, yet reflective, feel to this album. It should be the kind of music that would be ideal on a summer’s day, top off (I’m talking about cars here), cruising along country lanes and enjoying the moment. It’s trying hard to be that moment, but for me, it doesn’t quite get there. Instead, I feel like I’m sitting at a pub table, staring at a large glass of red, and wondering where this dream date hasn’t quite gone to plan.
Jupiter, Florida is released on 19th January through Chord Orchard.