Roly Skender’s “Electric Umbrella” shoots for lofty heights in releasing an Album length CD with 13 tracks. Similarly the album artwork conveys a sense of the grand vision that must have fueled this musical endeavour. Unfortunately it often falls short of excellence and its length tends to weigh down the better songs on offer here.
Much of the material is a kind of dreamy, laid-back pop rock, bringing to mind the Sleepy Jackson, amongst others. Much of the arrangements are well crafted, but the mid-tempo pace of most of the songs can make one song bleed into another without the listener noticing the track has changed; perhaps this is the band’s intention.
The band plays mostly simple parts, not seeking to detract from the vocals or the overall song. I was hoping for something to break through and catch my attention, but the band play it straight for the most part, a nice diversion being the New Order-esque introduction to “Free”. That track in general is a stand-out for me, having a nice Stone Roses kind of groove that carries the repeated vocal theme (“What’s it mean to be free?”).
Some of the vocals can occasionally be grating, sometimes too laidback and detached sounding to hold my interest. I feel the vocals are a bit over-effected throughout the 13 tracks as a whole. It would be a contrast to hear a more raw sounding vocal against the atmospheric musical background.
Still, Roly Skender has aimed high with “Electric Umbrella”, and we shouldn’t fault him for that. If you like laidback, dreamy pop that sounds like it was written by Brian Wilson’s ocker offspring, check out “Electric Umbrella”.