The Je Ne Sais Quoi We Make The Beginnings

[Coalition; 2004]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: hip, Old Navy-approved indie rock
Others: Hot Snakes, The French Kicks, The Walkmen

There are a number of things about The Je Ne Sais Quoi that make me want to hate them: the horrendously pretentious name, the hip-little-bar-on-the-Lower-East-Side swagger the music seems to possess, the hackneyed silk-screened layout on the back of the record that looks like it came out of RCA's A&R department's ass. But after giving We Make The Beginnings a wholeheartedly decent listen, I must say that as much as I want to, I can't bring myself to write a scathing review of this band.

I'm not going to lie -- The Je Ne Sais Quoi play a brand of music that a lot of other bands do better. Though the band has a nifty dual male-female vocal thing going and they do manage to pop a little organ into the mix now and again, the Je Ne Sais Quoi play a certain brand of off-the-cuff indie rock without having much more in the way of distancing themselves from the competition. I want to say that this sort of thing might prove detrimental in the long haul, that the group's setting itself up to be pigeonholed. But that's the thing about this band: it's not about the long haul. Hell, it's not even about the moment; the Je Ne Sais Quoi seem to be over the moment before it's even happened.

This is the part of the review where I usually go into some deep-in-the-trenches-of-Desert-Storm-type analysis. Not on this one, Pedro. Not one single distinctive track coupled with a complete lack of hooks made this record pass by as easily as a lemon-flavored laxative. But it also made it just as memorable. In spite of these two MAJOR infractions (both of which would usually guarantee you a D Minus on a good day from the Jonathan P Academy For Rock N' Roll And Macrame), I can tell these guys are really having fun. A kind of fun that isn't something you can easily find somewhere underneath the Williamsburg bridge. It's also a kind fun that's also keeping me from completely annihilating this band.

Please give us some hooks next time, fellas.

1. Weekdays
2. We Make Beginnings
3. The Real Future Blues
4. Station To Station
5. Magic Potion
6. Live Transmission
7. Stress Test
8. White Nights
9. We Need Disasters
10. 2004

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