Action Action - An Army of Shapes Between Wars (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Action Action

An Army of Shapes Between Wars (2006)


Action Action provided a fairly decent new wave / dance rock combination on their debut, Don't Cut Your Fabric to This Year's Fashion. While their followup here, An Army of Shapes Between Wars, is certainly more ambitious and carefully crafted, what it results in is an awfully boring and long affair with bordering-on-annoying amounts of keyboard and very few hooks.

Rising and falling action used to be a subtle trait with Action Action's songcraft; it was present in Fabric, but you had to keep an ear out for it. Here it's almost completely absent, partially due to Mark Kluepfel forgoing nearly any range in his usually emotionless voice, deadpanning all-too-apt lines like "Half of what I say is bliss / The other half is meaningless" ("A Tornado; An Owl"); his lazy affectation simply sounds medicinal. Songs like this tend to meander about, adding pointless filler amounts of dragging guitar and noise.

High points on the disc include "The Game" with its power-pop shine and "Sleep Paralysis," where Kluepfel is actually singing with some expression and the chorus is fairly catchy. Even the latter, however, ends with an interlude-ish minute and a half of programmed drums and Casio keyboard tones. The acoustic guitar and mock choir in "120 Ways..." is a nice touch, too.

I'm thankful I didn't have much hope invested in Action Action's full-length no. 2 here, because for all I was nodding towards I'm returned a terribly mediocre, hour-long display of indirection.

The Game
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The Game