Cornelius Point

[Matador Records; 2002]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: indie rock
Others: Cornershop, Pizzacato Five, Cibo Matto

Occasionally I get really tired of my full-time job. Who doesn’t? One day, in particular, I had really had it. I was determined not to subject myself to it for another day and decided I was going to “call in sick” and take the day off. It was this glorious day that I first heard Cornelius. Taking a day off from work can sometimes be more inspiring than actually doing something productive for a corporation. Cornelius was performing on stage on one of the many arts channels that are currently offered by my local cable company-- must be why they charge two arms and a leg for cable service. If you have a cable modem, you’re really in for an expense. What can I say? I have to have it. Well, the band performed only two songs, but it was enough to catch my attention. I’ve been a Cornelius fan since.

After five years of waiting, the time has come. Cornelius, born Keigo Oyamada, has finally released new material for us to enjoy. Point is its name. It’s highly glossy and full of gooey surprises. The production is about as crisp as a hi-fi fiend could possibly want. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the cover art, though. The cover art is lacking in my opinion. Admit it, part of the fun is having a great album cover to look at while listening to the artist do their thing. Look at the cover art for Insignificance and Eureka by Jim O’Rourke. Now that’s giving the customer a little extra bang for their buck. Not to mention, it helps the artists as well.

The album starts off with a “Point-less” intro. Get it? If you’ve heard “Fantasma,” you know that “Mic Check” is one of the single best introduction songs on an album. Really, the intro track on this album could have been left off. Maybe even replaced with a “real” song. But, for the sake of keeping the record label happy, I guess we’ll just have to sit through it. After all, it’s only 38 seconds of your life. Anyone can do that. The second track, “Point of View,” really takes you into better territory. This is where you’ll immediately recognize the production quality. I haven’t heard a song this crisply produced in a while. “Smoke” is the most solid song on the release. It’s also the most familiar style for Cornelius lovers. The bass work on this album is top notch.

The rest of the album is sort of jumbled. Samples of birds in the rain forest and full-on thrash metal begin to slightly detract from the cohesive order. Actually, the bird chirping is the one thing that is apparent throughout the album’s list of songs. “I Hate Hate” is the thrash-metal song I referred to in the beginning of this paragraph. It sounds like Matador Records accidentally got a hold of an old Slayer outtake and threw it in for an acceptable number of tracks. While it’s sort of amusing, it doesn’t really fit. Again, another song that probably could have been replaced with something else. I’m sure, as most bands do, Cornelius has plenty of unheard material that probably would have been better suited for this album.

1. Bug
2. Point of View Point
3. Smoke
4. Drop
5. Another View Point
6. Tone Twilight Zone
7. Bird Watching at Inner Forest
8. I Hate Hate
9. Brazil
10. Fly
11. Nowhere