[B]'Selenography'[/B] is the discipline of studying the moon's surface....

‘Selenography’ is the discipline of studying the moon’s surface. It’s fitting, then, that this new album by [a]Rachels[/a] – a Louisville-based ensemble of classical composers and avant-rockers, one of whom used to be in Rodan – should sound so distant, so removed; like a vast gulf of time separates author and listener.

Of course, it’s not really that elaborate. ‘Selenography’ is the sound of art-rockers splashing around in their own decadence. Post-rock a bit clichid? Never mind: a bit of revisionism, and we can pretend that whole rock thing never happened. Now, where’s that harpsichord? Ah, here it is, on the po-faced ‘Honeysuckle Suite’. Over five minutes, in fact, of a harpsichord solo, which sternly summons the gravitas of a medieval court, but never lets the jester get a look in. In fact, one wonders what the other ten members of [a]Rachels[/a] are doing in the meantime.

‘An Evening Of Long Goodbyes’, if still no ‘Rockafeller Skank’, is guided by ex-Rodan man Jason Noble‘s hand, and weaves an ornate orchestral spell reminiscent of Rodan. It proves that ‘Selenography’ does have stark, beautiful high points. But it doesn’t change the fact that much of this album is stilted, highbrow artifice, fun like an Amish theme park.

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