Half of the Postal Service makes half the progression

Ben Breier

You’ve probably listened to music by the man who goes by James Figurine – you just haven’t realized it quite yet.

Better known as James Tamborello, James Figurine teamed up with Ben Gibbard to create the quirky electronica-pop friendly duo known as The Postal Service, which has enjoyed a fair amount of success across youth demographics.

But Tamborello, who is known for devoting himself to several side projects, decided to start James Figurine – his second solo project since Dntel broke out in 1994. While Dntel is easily recognizable as Radiohead meets The Postal Service, James Figurine is a little bit harder to conceptualize until you actually hear it.

James Figurine can best be described as ambient and atmospheric – the kind of music you listen to when accomplishing a task, such as studying or chopping up vegetables. The best ambient artists, which include bands such as Broadcast, Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros, all produce music that can be listened to independently of any given context.

However, Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake is sometimes too abnormal for its own good. Tracks like “One More Regret” blur the line between music and random samples of electronic noise, and that’s not a good thing. There might be a discernible beat and rhythm, but it’s nothing you’d ever want to listen to on purpose – even if you are supplying it with some sort of context, like a drowsy Monday afternoon walk.

When Tamborello spices things up, it sounds like a Vicodin dance party – on “Ruining the Sundays,” millisecond drill-bit revolutions give way to alien-sounding bloops and bleeps.

The buildup here is remarkable – just before listeners start to go attention-deficit on this six-minute track, Tamborello integrates something new to bring your focus back. But it’s the highlight of an otherwise mundane record.

James Figurine

Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake

Released on Plug Research

Stater rating (out of five): *1/2

Very few of the tracks on Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake have any vocals – and when they are present, they’re used sparingly at best. Norway’s Erlend Oye makes a timely appearance on “All The Way To China.” Just when the music starts to get too lively, Oye’s vocals bring the musical excitement back down to a library’s whisper.

For those looking for a more mellow form of electronica, look elsewhere to fulfill your interests. – even dedicated fans of The Postal Service will have a hard time swallowing this pill. Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake is exactly what the title implies.

Contact campus editor Ben Breier at [email protected].