Fans of a musician Mauro Remeddi looked forward to a solid full-length album to follow up singles, EPs and solo project Porcelain Raft. After Remeddi’s first EP, Gone Blind, audiences had high hopes for his LP, Strange Weekend. But instead of the anticipated ethereal delight present in his previous work, the mechanized dream pop LP falls short of impressive.
A man of many musical endeavors, Remiddi has written music for Italian film scores, traveled as a gypsy musician playing klezmer music with a youth circus from Berlin, played piano for tap performances off-Broadway and was a part of the indie-pop duo Sunny Day Sets Fire.
Perhaps Strange Weekend proves that bouncing around from genre to genre may not be the best idea if you want to release a fresh and synthetic psych-wave album.
A change of pace seems appropriate in the midst of stretched-out guitar loops, keyboard and synthesizer. But this is where Strange Weekend falters. Instead, Remiddi cakes his compressed and shrill vocals on top of conventional lo-fi arrangements.
Remiddi gives in to his urge to use a disparate and layered falsetto. It’s as though the musician tries to cover up his strained vocals with prerecorded loops of his own echoey “ooohs” and “ahhhs,” but the constant reverb proves ineffective. In “Backwords,” Remiddi’s vocals become cheesy, with the same vacuous laptop samples we’ve heard before from artists like Blood Diamonds and Youth Lagoon.
Repetitious distortion at the end of various songs detracts from originality, as listeners seem to experience the same song 10 different times. The opening song, “Drifting In and Out,” brings the notion of meandering to mind. It’s easy to detract from Remiddi’s “hooks” as they distance the audience with the same chords of monotonous strumming, ongoing bell chimes and drum sequences synonymous with one another.
Remiddi’s focus presents the stifled feeling that his vision is overly narrow as he compensates for his lack of meaning with repetition. Droning samples are easily tuned out. Within the mediocrity Porcelain Raft creates, it’s difficult to tell what makes Strange Weekend so strange after all.