Sciflyer: Fair Weather Karma (Clairecords, 2003)

by Jason

Sciflyer WeatherShoegazer. Noise Pop. Space Rock. Whatever label you want to place on Sciflyer‘s sound, I would call it blissful, atmospheric, and intricate. There music soars into the atmosphere, but it is not all unstructured by any means. There are definitely hooks and sections to their songs. I think they have found a compromise between shoegazer, atmospheric blissfulness and song structure. They have the feel of a polished rock band hidden within layered guitars and blissful landscapes. Steve Kennedy also does a great job with his subtle vocal style and space laden lyrics.

“Karma” starts out with a track that was recorded on a four track. It’s a great opener for the album and feels very lo-fi while maintaining the bands musical integrity. “Burn to Sell”, the second track, is a song about betrayal. It has a catchy hook with great effects on the guitar. It’s hard to put into words what it actually sounds like. The guitar effect reminds me of the sounds one makes while playing the comb. Lyrically, it is a song about trust, or lack thereof, in a relationship. The album really soars on the 4th track. “Burning Down the House” is an atmospheric 11:57 minute track that never gets tiring. The guitars are beautifully layered and the bass adds a very subtle touch to this song. Perfect. Lyrically, “Burning Down the House” impressed me most. “it’s cold like a mars night/way out in the sky/i’m burning my house down, so go inside/like sparks from the arc-light/when our worlds collide.” I will not venture as to what they mean, because I could not decide whether it was good or bad friction meant by the song, so, I will let you decide. Needless to say, the lyrics on the whole album are a great read and they do a service to all their songs.

The only instrumental on the album is “Alpha Centari”. It is a mid-tempo, guitar layered track. What I like about it is that it does not drag on forever (it’s only 2:32). Sciflyer seems to have a great sense of when things might become too repetitive for the listener. Even their longer songs don’t ever get boring and they hold the listeners attention with tempo changes, change ups in the melody and other more intricate musical whimsies. The disc ends in a collide of feedback and sound, echoing the tumultuous lyrical content of all the previous tracks.

This disc is a solid effort. It’s thematic lyrics and strong song structures really give cohesion to the whole album. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

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