taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of local & state music CDs


You can glean a lot from the album cover of Cement Stars’ latest release, Geometrics. The bichromatic diplopia occurring with the two triangles in the image’s foreground against a color-washed treeline hint at the kind of aberrant contrast found within the album. While the album’s overall ambiance tends to flirt with the dreaded Intelligent Dance Music label, Geometrics is more multifaceted than the living-room grooves heard on opener “Ringing” would suggest. The rumbling low end and ringing synths of the Charlotte-based quartet are the story here more often than not, but vocalist Shaun Olson’s Zoloft-injected lyrics float high above the chimey guitars on “Ringing Snow” to move Geometrics out of dance-music territory and into amor phous, languorous indie house. Less often is this really music to move to, however. The instrumental “Down A Powerline” fuses fuzzy and expressive riffage to stimulate the feet, while the minimalistic, pulsating bass and ambient droning of “Try” appropriately begs the songs resounding lyric “Where do we go from here?” Even the album itself isn’t quite sure. There’s really no single, unifying musical theme behind Geometrics other than its predilection towards loosely danceable and jangley electro. It’s a very solid effort, even if the album’s greater purpose is often lost in its own ambiance. The album can be had for free, however, as Cement Stars are offering Geometrics as a free download on their MySpace page at


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