CMJ New Music Report
October 4, 1993

IDAHO Year After Year (Caroline, 114 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001/212-989-2929)

—Idaho constructs an achy eloquence out of simple (although heavy) building blocks: lethargic beats, weary baritone vocals, hurt whispers and gentle licks or feedback. The band finds a near-perfect medium amidst its plod-rocker siblings, fleshing out Codeine’s head-crushing concrete slabs with textured layers or background noise and strummed acoustic guitar, tightening up the long blank spaces that can make Red House Painters a difficult listen. The Los Angeles duo’s sound-scope is much like the terrain of its namesake state: Broad expanses of staccato drumming and acoustic guitar, made perilous by thorny tendrils of feedback, are periodically punctuated by towering mountains of slow-motion power chords. The weaving of morose quiet with explosions of emotion is handled with a grace comparable to such classics as the Swans’ Burning World and Joy Division’s Closer, but Idaho shies from the gimmicky melodrama of goth’s greatest hits. The rich (albeit mostly downbeat) variety of emotions on Year After Year has more in common with the decidedly adult, folk-based tradition of bands like American Music Club than it does with garden-variety suburban teenage angst. Take the weight of the world onto your shoulders with: "Skyscrape," the halfway peppy "One Sunday," "Gone," "Here To Go" and "Endgame."

-David Jarman