Review: Signum Umbrae – Guitar Studies

‘I’m Doing This To Get Laid, Where’s All The Chicks?’ has tinny production and badly played guitar just to add to the crassness of the title. Naturally, it is ironic but on a musical level, it seems rather pointless and doesn’t do justice for what’s to follow. Thus begins the first album project from Signum Umbrae, however; a musical outlet for an nineteen year-old from San Jose who also operates under the name of Snow Globe.

 

The rest of the material ranges between demo-level experiments and an indicator of considerable talent. Coming straight after that awkward intro, ‘All That Shines’ is a much better showcase for Snow Globe’s skilful fretwork; calling to mind both Mike Oldfield and Durutti Column. Meanwhile, the usage of dialogue from 1980’s comedy ‘Different Strokes’ and some elegiac melody come together to incongruous and haunting effect. There’s also an impressive, near-seamless flow between ‘The Re-formation Of Reforming The Form’ and ‘Let Me Tell You Something’. The only real problem is that so many of these good moments have finished just as they begin to reel you in.

‘Guitar Studies’ can’t decide whether it’s a proper mini album/EP or a compendium of in-jokes and demos and therefore falls, frustratingly, somewhere in between. What cannot be disputed, though, is that there is quality work here and if he can concentrate on creating longer, guitar pieces then a fine album will surely be the result.

Web Sites:
Signum Umbrae Soundcloud
Snow Globe Facebook

Further Listening:
Mike Oldfield, His Name Is Alive

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