May 26th, 2012 | Album reviews

Remembrance of Things To Come
Hit City U.S.A./Easter Everywhere

Princeton is a somber male pop band, snappy but smart, sexy in a sort of pensive, cerebral, twins-in-the-band kind of indie rock way. For their sophomore release, the meme going round is that bassist and band leader, Matt Kivel, has discovered the world of classical avant-garde music, and that after convincing his twin brother, Jesse (the more “disco” one), that Steve Reich and Philip Glass fucking rip, they’ve fashioned this album as an homage to that kind of strange and beautiful music, going so far as to hire L.A.’s talented New Music Ensemble to round out their songs with strings and xylophones. The results are mixed: Princeton’s love of danceable 4-4 beats means that there are virtually no rhythmic surprises in the entire album, much less the kind of scattered out-of-sync-now-in-sync skewed rhythms that make pieces like Steve Reich’s “Different Trains” so fascinating and throat-wrenching. On the other hand, when it shines, this album’s busy orchestration has the peppy feel of an 80s/90s arthouse film, a surface quality evocative of Terry Riley’s “In C.” You know, like the fast-motion sequences in A Zed & Two Noughts, or like the way the Kronos Quartet served as the perfect backdrop to highways and fields of Texan grass in David Byrne’s True Stories. Not familiar with those films or composers? No worries. This type of four-piece rock will play well with the Coachella crowd, and their newfound classical ornamentation will ensure they get plenty of love from NPR and KCRW.

—D.M. Collins