Drowning in beauty

Constraining though the 3-minute pop song may be, it has its usefulness — especially when you collect about 9 of them together.

Not that there’s anything wrong with pop songs longer than 3 minutes. Mathematically speaking, …

Wait a minute. I’ve said this before, haven’t I? (See, Love Psychedelico, Love Psychedelico III.)

Walrus writes the kind of a dreamy, atmospheric music that inhabits a lot of temporal real estate. That doesn’t mean the groups shouldn’t at least try a hand at conciseness.

During the four years since releasing its last album, 2000’s Hikari no Kakera, Walrus recorded a set of demos, which was later released as 20012002.

Although 20012002 was only six tracks long, the band’s expansive music filled out the disc well. The interpretation of Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” was downright fascinating.

But on the band’s self-titled third album, that expansiveness can get incredibly tiring in a full-length format — especially when there’s little difference between songs.

“Corn Flakes” has a lot activity going on in terms of rhythm and tempo, but the same cannot be said for the rest of the album.

Walrus’ songs do one of two things — start softly and develop slowly; or start at one texture and repeat for long stretches.

“Blind”, “Tears” and “Drab” fit in the former category; “Glide” and “Lastly” in the latter.

Although Walrus’ liberal use of effects produces some beautiful textures, the band’s writing is too locked into traditional song structures to make its sonic excursions anything but long-winded.

Buffalo Daughter could get away with writing a 50-minute, 5-track album (Pshychic) because the band de-emphasized the role of lyrics.

Walrus could learn a valuable lesson from Buffalo Daughter — if you’re going to take up that much time, the structure of your music had better justify it.

Too, singer Akitomo is barely audible in the mix.

Walrus is a beautiful-sounding album, but it also drowns in that beauty.