Bassist/vocalist Conrad Standish and guitarist Tom Carlyon, formerly of Devastations, have now formed a duo whose music is as uncreative as its name. Standish/Carlyon’s Deleted Scenes is an album full of aloof vocals, worn beats and dated instrumentation, one whose electronic industrialism would have fallen short of the quality of the Drive soundtrack in 2011. Rather, Deleted Scenes sounds like a 2011 remnant that didn’t surface a couple years prior simply because it’s not terribly good.
If the first song on any given album decides whether a person listens to the rest of it, then Deleted Scenes opener Critics Multiply wholeheartedly fails at garnering much interest at all. Standish’s forgettable vocals complement an equally forgettable bassline to the point where you believe that Standish/Carlyon’s brand of industrial electro pop will replace bossa nova as the preferred form of elevator music.
The next track, Nono/Yoyo, starts promisingly with some chic, squeaky synths but loses steam when uninteresting, simple drum machine beats and a straightforward bassline enter the picture. Elsewhere, as on Feb Love, Standish/Carlyon simply don’t take enough risks, as the song’s half-arsed falsetto can’t make the same old drum machine and synths at all sexy.
Even the catchiest songs on Deleted Scenes still sound like synthed out Random Access Memories B-sides, one whose catchy aspects are tossed in favour of the duo’s obsession with basic instrumentation. Primarily, Moves, Moves’ repeated grandpa-worthy pick-up line refrain of “I’ve seen you here a lot” is about as likely to attract listeners as it is to work in real life on any given girl.
Penultimate track Subliminally is Deleted Scenes’ most successfully sexy song, which isn’t really saying much considering how sterile the entire album sounds. Even Subliminally is too slow and restrained to really match the pleas for sex that Standish and Carlyon express on Deleted Scenes. Ultimately, the two come across as chauvinistic. Worse, Standish/Carlyon are not innovative; at least Kanye West and Twin Shadow have the sex appeal of creativity going on.
Deleted Scenes ends with slow-burner 2 5 1 1, and even if the name of the track were to playfully refer to getting the last four digits of someone’s mobile number, the track doesn’t get you to call the album back. While some of the best dance tracks tease you but never fully explode, 2 5 1 1 doesn’t even tease. Instead, it slowly moves from guitars to glitches to synth flourishes without much thought or interest, like a hapless DJ trying to get a girl to sleep with him by bragging about his musical knowledge.
Deleted Scenes is a rougher listen than, say, any given Swans album, but not rough in the sense that you listen to Gira-like compositions and come out a changed person. Deleted Scenes is rough because it’s so sluggish and immature. Overall, Standish/Carlyon have a rough road ahead; while the duo is certainly talented enough to release a decent album, at this point, they’re all talk.