March 20, 2008

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Baumer, Were it Not For You
Eyeball Records, March 4
Fresh off a one-song soundtrack appearance in the Winona Ryder vehicle “Sex And Death 101” come North Carolina’s Baumer bearing a drywall-bucket full of curveballs. Rolling out the proceedings is “In Your Stead” (all the song titles seem meant to evince Melville-like seriousness), a rainy wash of guitars, compressed drums and urgent singing common to most all-growed-up emo bands. But what the heck is this “Make Way for the King” song, with its We Love the ’80s synth-cheese and ska-like drumming, other than a CYA move in case the ’80s end up getting widely loved by everybody? Then comes “Hard Drug,” sounding like a Justin Timberlake demo. Songwriting isn’t a problem for this crew, but focus is — rather than associating themselves with a specific genre or (God forbid) blowing everyone away with originality, Baumer wants to become a warehouse of soundtracking archive soundage waiting around for calls from movie-studio peons, which don’t come often, even to the big fish. B-E.W.S.