Peter Vogelaar – The Science of Summer (album review)

Peter Vogelaar - The Science of Summer

Waterford producer Peter Vogelaar’s new album The Science of Summer features collaborations with Deaf Joe, Katie Kim, Cat Dowling, Ken Lally, Susan O’Neill & Aisling Browne.

The title track kicks off the album promisingly with a Sabres Of Paradise groove. The mostly instrumental tune sets out the stall for the album that Vogelaar intends as “an electronica/folktronica album that tries to capture the energy and atmosphere of a summer’s day”.

The strings and glockenspiel that open ‘Just breathe look to continue the album in that vein. Unfortunately Katie Kim’s breathy vocal track is undermined by a guitar overdub that is off key and/or out of time. It completely overwhelms the track until it is all that can be heard. Once heard it can’t be unheard. If this album is meant as a show-reel of Vogelaar’s production talents then it fails due to this and a number of other questionable/bizarre mixing and instrumentation decisions.

While Kim’s vocal contribution is sold short, Ken Lally’s performance is the saving grace for The Science Of Summer. He appears on four of the nine tracks and ‘Pleasure Evidence’ alone earns this record an extra star. It’s wonderfully languid and serene, with a hint of melancholy and neediness over a backing that brings to mind Sam Sparro’s ‘Black And Gold’.

Television’, Lally’s other main contribution, has an accompanying video by Radiohead collaborator Tobias Stretch.

Susan O’Neill’s enchanting vocals on ‘Amy’ are once again overshadowed by an obtrusive finger-picked guitar that doesn’t seem to be in sync with the rest of the track. The folk guitars and the electronic aspects of The Science Of Summer never meld and they counteract each other, each pulling the songs in opposing directions and neither succeeding.

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