320 kbps | 105 MB | LINKS
The Graveyard and the Ballroom, compiled from a collection of early four-track recordings and a set of live tracks, shows off A Certain Ratio’s strengths well. The sound is surprisingly good for such lo-fi recordings, and the band is, for all of their musical amateurishness, rather precise and controlled.
Unfortunately, that highlights a key flaw of the album: Too often, it is accomplished enough to be intriguing, but never all that gripping. By emphasizing rhythm over melody, A Certain Ratio makes music that is interesting and danceable, but not hugely compelling. It’s mechanically well-played, with quirky, interesting lyrics that never really seem to add up to anything more than an attention-grabbing sound. Nonetheless, those seeking an idiosyncratic, interesting art-funk band can do no wrong with this release, even if it ultimately falls short of any meaning beyond quirky experimentalism.