There's little in Silver Scooter
's earlier LPs and singles to suggest the quantum leap forward made by The Blue Law
: as atmospheric, sophisticated, and nuanced as previous outings were charmingly raw and unrefined, the album consolidates the band's myriad influences -- everyone from R.E.M.
to New Order to Pavement
-- into their own distinctively laconic yet gripping sound. The subtle but palpable tension at the heart of Scott Garred's best songs infuses the entire disc with a gnawing sense of resignation and foreboding; couched by richly textured guitar lines and sinewy rhythms, Garred narrates his knowing tales of ill-fated romance in a voice that's equal parts curiosity and bemusement. When he intones "I know I'm not original, or even typical" on The Blue Law
's stunning opener, "Goodbye," the moment crystallizes Silver Scooter
's appeal -- though in one sense the sum of their influences, the group nevertheless channels the lessons of their inspirations into something not at all commonplace, and most of all uniquely theirs.