Autistic Daughters Jealousy and Diamond

[Kranky; 2004]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: minimalist, freeform rock
Others: Jim O’Rourke, Dean Roberts, Thela

Dean Roberts has been a part of the freeform, post-punk scene for quite sometime. He's bounced from nation to nation, band-to-band, dabbling in anything from in your face guitar, to spatial drones, to the sweet tones of the harmonium. All three make an appearance on Jealousy and Diamond, the debut from the Autistic Daughters, Roberts' new brainchild. Continuing down a path of experimentation of sound with the help of Martin Brandlmayr and Werner Dafeldecker, Roberts has seemed to expand on his presentation of noise-through-song structure much like his last solo album, Be Mine Tonight, but with little variance.

Jealousy and Diamond doesn't really hit its stride until the second track, "Florence Crown, Last Relay," -- only after eight minutes of tinkering and repetition have elapsed. On the edge of falling asleep to what amounts to a rock lullaby, a Robert Plant The Principle of Moments-era guitar riff slowly arouses your interest, just to tease you enough to keep listening. Unfortunately, the love affair quickly evaporates. Each song starts out slow and monotonous, and by the time it's ready to peak and crescendo, you are ready to skip ahead to the next track; and when it peaks, it's like a teenage orgasm -- quick and unsatisfying.

The one sole highlight, "Spend it on the Enemy (While it was Raining)," is filled to the brim with angst and fully explores the themes the Autistic Daughters have been dancing around most of the album. The punctuated guitar is brought to life by the quiet droning of feedback and a quick taste of sloppy harmonica playing. It's too bad all this is packed into one track.

If you're ready to tackle something experimental and free of restrictions outside of "mainstream" experimentation, this is not the band to start off your journey. There is nothing to grasp onto, and though the effort deserves high marks, the results don't measure up.

1. A Boxful of Birds
2. Florence Crown, Last Relay
3. The Glasshouse and the Gift-Horse
4. Rainy Day in June
5. Spend it on the Enemy (While it was Raining)
6. In Your Absence from the Street
7. Jealousy and Diamond