Chris Taylor is playing with fire. A pity, then, that his debut release – out on Terrible/Warp Records – is so utterly lukewarm. I won’t start this review with a fussy pun about how CANT actually CAN, nor say this is not a Terrible Record. The digs have already been set up, and it is very tempting to be very scathing. That is not to say that this is a terrible record – terrible is a strong word, and this is not a very strong album in any sense – but certainly not one for the books. Actually, I was ready for this to be seriously great. A collaborative work between Taylor, Grizzly Bear’s baby-faced bassist (CANT are his initials), and syntheur extraordinaire George Lewis Jr. of ‘Twin Shadow’ fame, the press release enthusiastically informs me that the album was ‘mostly written and recorded in a week and a half in a bedroom’. With that knowledge borne in mind, and the rather naff title ‘Dreams Come True’ (unfortunately also the name of an equally underwhelming album from A Flock of Seagulls), it is simply too easy to be mean.
This is the kind of album that I feel I should probably like. It’s a little bit experimental (like Deerhunter, but worse) but not actually scarily innovative or unlistenable, comes from two artists who I like, has a silly name and involves a lot of synths. This will doubtless earn it a host of enthusiastic fanboys who will assure me that you just have to listen to it a little bit more, give it a chance to open up, that it is complex and interesting and wonderful and clever. I don’t necessarily think their faith in the dynamic duo is misplaced, just that this album fails to showcase the ‘good stuff’, favouring cluttered, avant-prog slow jams that blend into an admittedly dreamlike, forgettable blur. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard, but the phrase ‘must try harder’ does spring to mind. Fittingly, though, ‘She Found A Way Out’ does manage to bob to the surface – and suggests that, given just a little more time, CANT may yet deliver.