In case you haven’t noticed, we’re running out of time to make something really amazing happen with this decade. We crossed the threshold into a new century long ago, but we haven’t really moved from the doorway. We seem to be looking back with such fond memories that we can’t move on: the cute little ’60s over there with all that political activism and kitschy pop music, the ’80s with their electric avenues and charming narcissism. I wonder what we’ll do next. Maybe we’ll go live on the moon and make moon music or something. You never know; the universe is the limit. But I just can’t leave those flannel-rich ’90s behind if they keep looking at me like that.
This year could’ve been the time for San Francisco’s Film School to have a say in where we go from here. With some buzz around the band’s recent South by Southwest appearances and Beggars Banquet supporting its self-titled sophomore album, the future is an open road. Film School’s well-received 2001 debut, A Brilliant Career, was mostly helmed by founder/singer Krayg Burton, who called on a few of his indie-rocking friends to help fill the album out. But this release is more of a collaborative effort. Nyles Lannon, who helped out on A Brilliant Career while working on his own projects, Technicolor and N.lannon, is an active part of the songwriting process, as is Technicolor’s bassist, Justin LaBo. So, as all the pieces fall into place, so does Film School’s true style.
Unfortunately for our collective creative momentum, Film School will not herald new innovations in music. Everything from the guitar work to the vocals are so engulfed in Robert Smith that it might as well be a silk-screen copy of Boys Don’t Cry. There’s nothing wrong with pulling inspiration from a one of the ’80s most influential groups, but when it’s already successfully shaped the backbone of a number of modern acts, from Clinic to Block Party to the Rapture, it tends to cheapen things. A quick side-by-side comparison of Film School’s “Harmed” and The Cure’s “In Between Days” lends so many similarities – even down to the opening howl – that it’s almost frightening.
This unoriginality is Film School‘s biggest disability. The guitar work is clean and atmospheric, the vocals light and poppy and the rhythms playful to reflective, but we’ve been here before. It only begs the question, Has it really all been done?
Beggars Web site