The Antivillains’ “So Much For Romance”

Brooklyn group The Antivillains craft a unique mixture of indie-pop and old time jazz – Sarra Sedghi

Sarra Sedghi

out of 10

The AntiVillains
So Much For Romance
January 1, 2010

When I first listened to Brooklyn and Toledo-based The Antivillains’ “So Much For Romance,” I closed my eyes and took everything in all at once and only detected beauty. I heard Sarah Cohen’s clear voice that I can only compare to water in order to provide it justice, harmonies with her brother Ben that bantered (in “Don’t Get Excited”) and twisted around one another (in “I Can’t Fall Asleep), and an array of instruments including chimes and sounds I’ve never heard along the more standard drums and guitar that supported the vocals while calling an adequate amount of attention to themselves.

After my first listen I ended up instantly loving the album, but I will admit that I went about it in the wrong way. I think that in order to fully appreciate So Much For Romance, you must take the album apart – lyrics, voices, beats, rhythms, everything – so you can understand each variable on a separate level and then layer them back together. By listening to each facet individually, I was able to gain a better analysis of the album: Ignoring Sarah and Ben Cohen’s immaculate harmonies showed me the pain behind the lyrics; Ostracizing their voices and focusing on the instrumentals revealed Sam Woldenberg’s skill as a percussionist and taught me that heartbreak can be beautiful, sensual, and even passionate; And then putting all of it back together again made me appreciate The Antivillains a million times more.

I do think The Antivillains are very aware of their individual talents, however. Sarah Cohen’s voice resonates most lucidly in “Weightless,” So Much For Romance’s opening track, and “To Be The One.” When her brother Ben joins in tracks such as “Don’t Get Excited,” and “The Only Sound,” the result is a harmony that is hauntingly beautiful; however, in “Emily,” he proves that he can hold his own with a melody. And Woldenberg’s chime skills in particular leave me feeling “Weightless.”

Listening to So Much For Romance so many times in both ways helps me understand exactly how much mastery The Antivillains put into the album. The Antivillains’ sound is beautiful, memorable, and above all, now that I’ve heavily examined it, ingenious – and So Much For Romance is no different