Review: This Unique Museum – Chapter One: A Catalogue Of Madness & Melancholy

The work of This Unique Museum could be referred to as modern shoegazing, an opinion I first reached when reviewing his first album in 2006. It appears that the man behind the project, Ben Fitton, has now hit upon an original concept with his approach to record releases. He releases a new track on his web site every week and after each set of twelve tracks are published and considered by visitors to his web site, these are then put in to CD form. Such prolific activity must be difficult to maintain and as a reviewer I am already one release behind as Fitton has released an additional EP since the release of ‘Chapter One’.

This Unique Museum Album Cover

As with past releases, track titles are accompanied rather confusingly by an additional bracketed title. The music remains consistent too; usually based on an electronically-enhanced folk melody accompanied by Fitton’s aching, sensitive vocals. In fact, in all honesty, there’s not much to differ ‘Chapter One’ from ‘A Collection Of Short Stories’, which is probably indicative of the recording schedule but some gems do emerge. ‘The Optimist Of…’ make the best use of the keening, dreamy quality of Fitton’s vocals, piano keys and grinding guitars embellish the gorgeous ‘The Architect Of…’ whilst ‘Wise Beyond Her Years’ may be relentlessly downbeat but it is undeniably attractive. Granted, the slowly unravelling nature of the music and the sweetly melancholic mood can be a little samey but the overall effect is a well-crafted, hypnotic and seamless collection of songs.

Web Sites:
This Unique Museum Official Site
This Unique Museum MySpace

Further Listening:
The Notwist

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