Parlez vous “emo?” For Antwerp ‘s The Go Find, the answer is a nervous, albeit with downcast eyes and mussed hair dangling, “yes.” It may have arrived two years too late, but Stars on The Wall is the Belgian equivalent of boys wearing girls’ jeans and black hoodies while smoking cigarettes and moping to the sound of their own hearts breaking. In other words, Ben Gibbard’s moody narcissism has finally gone transatlantic.
Dieter Sermeus follows up 2004’s Miami with a predictable, if usually enjoyable, set of down tempo indie-electronic numbers. This is the kind of music that made your little brother cut his hair into a front-mullet, so that he would intentionally have to brush it out of his face (or maybe it was just to hide the tears). Tres chic, indeed. A Hammond organ groans under the tinny guitar arpeggios, the pithy percussion is an exercise in minimalism-hold the mayonnaise on those French fries, thank you very much.
Stars On The Wall delivers with humbling hipster grooves designed to get those tight jeans shaking, and for the most part, they are pretty catchy, even if you’re sure you’ve heard them before. If “New Year” reminds you of a similarly titled song by everyone’s favorite doomed taxi, then you’re not alone. “This is the new year I’ve been waiting for,” Sermeus croons amidst a snappy snare/high-hat combo and grumbling analog synth, which, if I’m not mistaken, is practically a word for word transcription of Death Cab’s “The New Year.”
Things get a little more atmospheric on “Adrenaline,” as the currents of Hammond and synth shift upstream and head for the great blue beyond with the assurance of: “You are the only one, that can prove me wrong.” For once you’ll be glad you’re not suffocating from the over-sentimentality indicative of the genre. “Ice Cold Ice,” trembles along repetitive guitar picking and Jimmy Tamborello-inspired electronic blips while “Downtown” is a welcome diversion down more acoustic avenues and singer/songwriter sensibilities.
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then The Go Find must love the hell out of Death Cab For Cutie’s morose introspection. And since Chris Walla didn’t get his mitts on the production of this album, you can bet he’ll have something to do with the next one, assuming the trend doesn’t die off before that. So remember kids, don’t cut that hair yet, the emo-train is still charging forward with no signs of slowing anytime soon.