Lo-fi is not a boring genre; likewise, DIY does not need to sound like shit. The Atlantic Manor’s new album, The World Beneath This World Is Brightening –their eleventh since their 2000 debut — is self-described as “lo-fi outsider d.i.y.” and manages to make both genres look bad.

I fully support the idea that everyone should go forth into the world and try their hand at whatever they can to make this planet more beautiful. The Atlantic Manor’s motto is, “Go start your own band and make the world a better place.” What a lovely notion, really. Unfortunately, this is a review of the band’s music, not their ethos, and as such, I have to be blunt and tell you this: not everyone was meant to make music.

Barring the first track, aptly titled “Openings,” there is not a song on this album that I would willingly listen to. I’m convinced every track is the same, and The World… is actually a single, hour-long sleeping pill rather than nine stand-alone pieces. Only “The Good Son” attempts a living pulse, but the cheesy piano work thinly veils the same simple guitar lines as the rest of the album. Even “Openings” is only really appealing in a gimmicky sort of way–a minute or so of a child trying to sing “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” It’s cute, but not enough to resurrect the rest of the album.

Nasal croons and imperfect voices can be wonderful things, but The Atlantic Manor’s R. Sell sounds like one of those guys who has been told that he is “really good at singing” after a particularly rousing night of Rock Band or karaoke or something. I guess I should give the guy points for enthusiasm, but The Atlantic Manor seems to be one of those bands that hopes to impress you with the sheer length of their resume, rather than being worth listening to.

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