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A.M. Architect, The Road to the Sun (Exponential)

May 12, 2009
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It's a bit of a trek
Knocking mostly at a lethargic clip, midtempo beats anchor the debut album from Texas duo A.M. Architect, while the rest of these starry-eyed stretches are fleshed-out with a curious tangle of live and looped instrumentation. When things get comfortable, however, it makes for tedious travels. The Road to the Sun sometimes plays like a sluggish elevator ride that empties its passengers out into the middle of nowhere.

 
"Next of Kin's" abundant noodling comes off like a fruitless rehearsal session, and "Please Help Me" moves in a similar nondirection. These cuts are hard to swallow, particularly because Diego "Aether" Chavez—the producer whose 2008 Artifacts LP offers such a wealth of fascinating sampler experiments—comprises one-half of A.M. Architect. But like Artifacts, The Road isn't without welcome unpredictability. Each half of the two-tiered title track could've been haunting, Chavez-authored solo outtakes cast aside for reasons unknown—vibes and tasteful acoustic guitar fit the hulking beats well in “Part I,” and “Part II” is painfully brief—its hushed vocal bits and crunchy rhythm evaporates far too soon. "February" at first slumps like classy instrumental hip-hop, but never stays in one place, as swerving off the road occasionally is a good idea. [3 out of 5 stars]

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