By Jordan Blum
If there is one thing that goes hand-in-hand with college students, it’s the Myspace.com Web site. Not only is it probably the most popular Internet community available, but it’s also a great place to discover new music that has not received massive promotion. There are many bands on the site that are worth taking a look at. The Art of All is one such group and its album Morgan is an admirable, though flawed, debut.
Self-described as “a progressive trance grunge band with aspects of metal and post punk,” The Art of All is a two-piece band based out of Lynn, Mass. The guitarist and lead singer is Ruben Ruiz and the drummer/keyboardist is Peter Aliferis.
The band originally started in the summer of 2004 and has released two EPs prior to Morgan. On this album the duo asked Chris Debari to play bass. While it has succeeded in creating great atmospheric rock with progressive elements, there is also something lacking with the LP: diversity.
The sound of wind blowing provides the eerie opening, and soon the various guitar lines and drums provide a feeling of loss and nostalgia. The album makes great use of simplicity to craft an intense emotion. One is immediately reminded of the band At the Drive-In in that actual instrument tones.
The vocals have a weird effect that makes them sound distant and dream-like. Many of the songs fade into each other and with a total time of around a half hour long, it is easy to listen to Morgan as one piece simply broken up into several tracks.
The time signatures, while not very complex, do change unexpectedly a few times, introducing the influence of progressive rock. Finally, this is an album that requires to be heard on headphones to fully appreciate its subtle beauty.
There are some flaws with the LP. To begin with, there is little variety between all of the tracks. If looked at as a collective set of tracks, this may not be a problem because it keeps the mood and ambience consistent, creating true art with conceptual continuity. But with so many other bands providing a lot more assortment in their suites, it’s still disappointing.
Also, there is nothing really new with the music. It is great on its own but one can’t help but concurrently think of it as a mixture of other bands instead of a truly original vision. However, there is definitely room for growth and improvement, as many unique bands start out as merely a collage of their influences, and even as that, The Art of All is worthy of attention.
Relying on TV, radio and peer opinion for what music to discover really isn’t sufficient anymore. People and businesses can be biased or limit what they recommend to what will sell. It is very difficult for bands that don’t fit the mold to get exposure, but the Myspace.com music section can help.
Simply put, The Art of All is a band that deserves to be heard. Although its sound is not completely original, and it doesn’t alter much between songs, the sound it does have is a great one. The group will no doubt expand its ideas and originality in future releases, so The Art of All is worth keeping an eye on.
In any case, Morgan is a short but very involved collection of songs that is worth the small price tag (about half of what is normally asked) requested by the band’s Web site. There is surely art in it all.