You know how, when you repeat a word a dozen times in a row, it tends to lose all meaning and sounds silly to you? That’s kind of the problem with Aidan Casserly and Kriistal Ann’s collaborative effort, Muse. Many of the initial ideas are enticing; but as each piece stretches longer, they start to lose all focus from what they initially set out to achieve.
It’s clear that both of these Greece-based musicians enjoy and are heavily inspired by The Cure. Casserly’s singing sounds all but identical to Robert Smith’s whimpers and whispers. But while Smith’s brainchild usually produced songs that were concise and singular, Casserly and Ann seem to relish in songs that almost feel incomplete, despite their length. For example, “Road to Oblivion” starts off promisingly enough with a catchy little twelve-bar blues bass lick, and some solid “saxing around,” but as it continues, it seems to get stuck somewhere between avant-garde noise and smoke-room jazz.
The back and forth play between the two voices is interesting, but honestly it’s not as enticing as it could be. While they each have their own character, they mostly just work next to each other as opposed to working with each other, almost as if they are trying to shine on their own as opposed to as a team. From what’s showcased here, neither singer is particularly strong; both could have benefited from a little more support. Also, the mix on both voices is strange, and sounds like it might have been done in different booths at different studios. Again, the melodies don’t feel entirely finished.
There are things that work. “To Tell the Truth” is a cheesy but competent stab at dreamy synth-pop for the most part. Much of the bass playing throughout the record is commendable. All in all, this feels like a fun idea between two friends that was rushed to a recording studio before it could be fully planned and executed.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Kate Erickson