Review ·

Everyone owns a few records that don't stand out. You like them, you listen to them occasionally, but they're easy to pass over, and you gradually forget about them. On This Is Bigger Than You And I, the Secret Handshake (the recording alias of Luis Dubuc) tries, with mild programmed beats, easy acoustic guitar patters, harmonizing vocals and breezy falsetto choruses, to make his blend of the human and the electronic stand out. 

 

Opener "An Outline" showcases Dubuc's pleading voice over a hypnotic drum blip while soaring strings play counterpoint to sparse and low piano tones. Here, he's on to something; it's not revolutionary, but it'll get in your head. But with the Postal Service leading the way and elementary school kids knocking out laptop beats, songs such as "Coastal Cities" (Coldplay-lite, if you can believe that) and "Friendly Reminders," with its kitchen-sink of electronic effects and rote lyrics, do more than stand out - they put not only their influences, but also their faults, on clear display. "Who will remind you of me/ When I'm gone?" Dubuc sings as a refrain on "Friendly Reminders." Unfortunately, the answer is simple: plenty of people.

 

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