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East Of Monument

For some people, life is just too much....

East Of Monument

6 / 10 FOR SOME PEOPLE, LIFE IS JUST TOO MUCH. 'East Of Monument', the debut album from San Francisco's Half Film, arrives shrouded in a sense of dark despair that reaches far beyond gentle melancholy, but its overbearing sense of defeat sometimes makes it a harrowing experience.

Quite what the world needs with yet another American slo-core band is debatable; Half Film owe everything to Low and Joy Division, so there is precious little that is new here, but singer Con Devlin's personal trauma is so delicately articulated, it barely matters: tracks like 'The Arrangement' and 'Hang' capture Ian Curtis' utter resignation to chilling effect. What does matter is that these feelings of hopelessness too often cause Half Film to lose themselves in ponderous self-pity, Devlin mumbling barely coherently as the band stumble blindly into self-parodying miserablism.

What 'East Of Monument' lacks is drama or defiance. It has an album-as-suicide-note finality to it: confused and slightly pathetic. Some sense of direction is required, but without the faintest glimmer of light to be found, such hope seems futile.

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