Architectures of the Atmosphere is the debut full-length from Cue the Doves, released about a month ago. Cue the Doves� members have played in many other groups, such as fairly well-known California hardcore band The Beautiful Mistake, so they�re clearly no freshmen to the music scene. Their Purevolume page proclaimed them rock/post-hardcore/experimental, and various zines trumpeted the bands the members had merged from. But I�m not one to decide whether or not to listen to a band based on genre, and quite frankly, I wanted to know about the current band as a whole, not what its individual members sounded like before. I am of the firm belief that bands should be judged solely based on their own merit, not who they�ve played with or those �for fans of� stickers that more often than not take up the entirety of a CD�s cover.
        With this in mind, I popped in
Architectures of the Atmosphere and gave it a whirl. The album starts off with an instrumental track that sounds like something out of a dark but very rockin� Cirque de Soleil. Kinda weird, kinda chilling, kinda scary. This mood continues even when vocals kick in on the second track. Minor chords and a vocal melody that doesn�t quite follow the instruments give the songs a very sci-fi feeling. Judging from the song titles and their lyrics�like �An Astronomer�s Ellipse� and �Sphere of the Abyss��I guess that�s what they were aiming for.
        Most of the songs lack a recognizable song structure, and in the songs that do have one, it�s weak. And while that may work for some bands and/or some songs, it left me feeling like a huge chunk of a puzzle was missing. I really couldn�t get into any of the tracks, and the aforementioned minor keys and ambling, colliding melodies played a big part in this. At times it felt like trying to listen to two songs at once or switching songs suddenly midway through a track, which was very weird and uncomfortable. There�s no doubt that these guys are skilled at what they do�the drumming is fantastic, and their vocalist has a pretty wicked scream (see: �The Balance� and �The Red Planet Falls�)�but if there was a message or meaning I was supposed to understand from this album, it�s just not getting through.
        Cue the Doves is definitely one of the more unique bands out there, and no, I�m not using �unique� as a euphemism for �bizarre.� The thing about branching out from the sheep and taking a stab at standing out, though, is that it�s less likely that you�ll have a huge amount of people who will understand and appreciate what you�re doing. I applaud Cue the Doves for doing what they do, but it�s not something I�d recommend to very many people. It takes a certain taste to dig music like this�listen to a track or two on Purevolume and you�ll see what I mean. If you�re willing to take a chance on something you definitely haven�t heard before, though, pick this album up and give it a shot. You might just discover a new favorite band.
A.A. '06
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Dead Letter Records

1) Majestic Twelve
<< 2) Sphere of the Abyss >>
3) An Astronomer's Ellipse
4) The Balance
5) Course One: The Abductions
6) Architectures of the Atmosphere
7) The Red Planet Falls
8) Peregrine Mountain: the Aftermath
9) Hallucinations
10) Escape the Cell
Buy This Album
Band Website