This disc gets off to a good start. The instrumentation is varied and intriguing; tempos shift and keep the listener on his or her toes. But the band’s shtick seems to be the whole juxtaposition thing. It’s as if the group was assembled by Central Casting: “Hey: let’s assemble players from various musical disciplines and see what happens.” What might be good on a TV “reality” show doesn’t necessarily make for compelling listening.
The keyboards on “Like This” evoke visions of 80s synth-driven groups like The Cars; the percussion calls to mind late 70s prog trio UK; the layered guitars have a contemporary sound. It’s a recipe that may look appetizing, but when it comes out of the oven, it smells a bit…off.
“Talk to Me” is the album highlight; a shuffling jazz-lounge underpinning propels a catchy melody. But the annoying DX7 keyboard with its faux-organ preset suits listeners up in parachute pants and sends them on an unwanted time trip to 1985. And on “Awake,” they forgot to change the preset.
There’s little question that Fluttr Effect is staffed with ace players; these guys and gals can do anything. And therein lies the problem: Marking Time is too all-over-the-stylistic-map to make much of an impression. In these days of narrow marketing, Marking Time will struggle to find an audience. But with talent to burn, hope can be held out: perhaps this group will find its musical focus. If they do, they could very well make their mark. Meantime, the album title about sums it up.