Friday, July 09, 2010

Review: William Fitzsimmons, Derivatives


William Fitzsimmons

Derivatives, albeit William Fitzsimmons’ fourth full-length release, really doesn’t deepen or develop Fitzsimmons’ work thus far as an indie-folk-Grey’s-Anatomy-tear-jerker-scene-staple-soundrack-twee musician. What Derivatives does do is offer up remixes and retooled versions of songs that had already been released on The Sparrow and The Crow in 2009. But several of these “new-and-improved” songs have the “before” shot present on the ten-track album as well, making Derivatives even less fresh—simply because half of the songs had already been previously released exactly as they appear on this album. Oh, and there’s a Katy Perry cover. That’s about it.

As for Derivatives’ new work, are these new tracks a success? Debatable. William Fitzsimmons himself sounds much like a poor man’s Iron and Wine, especially compared to Iron and Wine frontman’s The Creek Drank the Cradle album. The remixes present on Derivatives, on the other hand, sound much like a poor man’s Postal Service. Fitzsimmons manages to come close to nailing the simultaneously distant and hollow yet poppy and poignant feel of Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello’s fated collaboration—like the entire Give Up album, Fitzsimmons’ remixed “I Don’t Feel It Anymore” gives the listener the sense of being far up in the clouds, away from all the banalities of human emotion, able to watch them play out without any strings being attached. (The main lyrics in Fitzsimmons’ track are: “oh take it all away / I don’t feel it anymore”—pretty rough, though the musician, also pursuing a career as a counselor, has likely seen the run of skewed human emotion well enough to portray it in such a light).The light, airy electronica underlaces Fitzsimmons’ previously boring croon and gives it the newer, sweeter edge it needed. But in the end, even that edge is not enough, the album still leaves the listener in want.

-- Fiona Hanly


Caroline said...

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Ben said...

this cover of i kissed a girl has ruined my morning.

i understand that he wants to, needs to, has to be an grey's anatomy caliber sam beam, and i accept his decision to steal that aesthetic. whatever. but the dude changes a catchy (to a point) song that is moderately subversive into a completely bland minivan mom hetero suckfest.

instead of maintaining some semblance of shock factor (options being 'i kissed a boy.... i hope my girlfriend don't mind it' or the [even better] original lyrics 'i kissed a girl.... i hope my boyfriend don't mind it'), billy gives us a song that is not so much about the excitement of experimentation as it is your 12 year old brother's narrative about kissing some other girl at the valentine's day dance.

i want to chop off his beard.

aaron said...

if we ever get to post the letter he sent us in response to Fiona's review, you're seriously going to regret all the mean things you say

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