January 24, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Multo - Quiet Places (2013)

There’s a new Multo EP out this week—the stripped down but quite faint Quiet Places, and it contains a selection of rarities, acoustic bedroom jams, covers and outtakes. Allan Lumba describes the over-all vibe of his new compilation as a reflection of “slower moments, like introspective breathing spaces in this world of constant social mediation.”

Actually I’m partly on his side with this. “Swimming Santiago” is a testament to his twisted nod to melodic pop sensibility and lo-fi charm, the music in this setting is so lax and warm that it felt like you’re listening to your friend rant while strumming an acoustic guitar. “Caught in a Current” and “From Autumn Seeds” follow the similar thread, wringing all the inspiration out of anti-folk sentiments and subtle background noises. His cover of Kath Bloom’s ballad “Come Here” is modestly pretty, but lacks the subtle emotional punch of the original.

It’s an odds-and-ends collection, to put it bluntly. You can distinguish the drop-off in quality between his earlier materials on Footnote to Youth and the obscurities on Quiet Places. There are way too many instrumental jams and half-baked experiments that stray too far from the strengths of the debut album, haunting and moving along in circles but devoid of a clear structure. While I recognize the aesthetic merits behind Lumba’s work and his ability to write a non-conventional pop song spiked with earnestness and quirk, most of the tracks here still need some serious reworking even though it falls under the clause of a rarity.

As much as it pains to say it, Quiet Places’ occasional misfires would’ve been better left in the garage. What could’ve been an intriguing glimpse to his creative world turns out to be a polarizing experience, hardly groundbreaking but mixed in, however are a few decent tracks worth a listen. B- 

You can download Multo's Quiet Places here for free.

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