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The best kept secret in music


"Opus Zine loves Argentine"

"The World Gets Younger", the first track on Argentine's In Other Fictions, begins slowly. Glacial, melancholic reverbed guitars ring out and stretch on into forever while vocalist Ian Carpenter lays down his relaxed, world-weary vocals. Four minutes in, everything reaches a breaking point and the band begins to rock out. It's a big song, imparting an atmosphere as vast and cold as the ocean itself.

Such is the case for all the songs on this, the band's debut album. Argentine takes their time on these 8 tracks of beautiful, spacey power-pop, moving at a slow pace and letting the pretty melodies stretch out for all they're worth. Their mellow style brings to mind early Radiohead, Death Cab For Cutie, and occasionally Low, among others. It's nothing particularly new, but it is remarkably solid, and they manage to keep things refreshing and poignant.

The afforementioned opener, "The World Gets Younger", is definitely one of the strongest cuts here, but there are plenty of other good ones to follow. "Ender/Beginner", among the album's darkest in tone, features a soaring chorus worth listening to over and over, and the beautiful title track makes use of violinist Mocha Ishibashi and viola player Chris Curtis, as well as some very pretty guitar work.

Lying at the heart of the album is its catchiest and most accessible song, "Slumberslide". Beginning with the rattle of quiet shakers and more reverbed guitar, it moves along and builds to a singalong chorus, finishing off with a hand-clapping finale with soaring harmonies. It's the album's brightest moment, and it's followed up by another great track, "Westerly". "Checks and Balances", the obvious closer, caps off the album in lovely fashion, with pleasant guitar and a chorus of "It comes around".

Like Radiohead and Low, the band mixes their melancholy with a sense of hope. This is the kind of band you hold close to your heart, that works as a soundtrack to your darker moments while reminding you of your brighter ones. Some may find the album a bit predictable, and the lack of variation between the songs may make it difficult for some to distinguish between them, but if listeners are willing to be patient, they'll find plenty of rewards here. Argentine does their music well, and if this debut is any indication, they are on their way to becoming something very special. Here's hoping they'll release more soon. - Richie DeMaria 4.30.04

- Opus Zine

"Americana-UK loves Argentine"

So the last review of the year and you’re left with the bottom of the pile things that have been left to one side to gather dust. Who’s even heard of them, why couldn’t they get a record deal? So much for prejudice, because this is a really good record, a cross between Mazzy Star (with male vocals), the Go-Betweens and Interpol?

That sounds much better, the songs all have time to get going and build up from gentle strumming until tension is released; an organ on ‘Fresh Inventions’ swishes and acts like a curtain going up. Guitars double helix around ‘Ender/Beginner’ changing the DNA of the song to a more aggressive mood, violin and cello cocooning the title track, incubating the song and then unfurling its wings so it can emerge as a thing of beauty.

‘Slumberside’ gently laps at the shore, like the tidal Humber, hiding beneath, the strong currents that erupt occasionally to grab another victim. ‘Westerly’ gets all Death Cab for Cutie on us, with a circling guitar figure, flashes of strings and rising towards the chorus, before coming round again on the ebb tide. ‘Bowling Green’ is crown green, the verse the jack racing out ahead propelled by organ and piano, leaving a target for the others to aim for, and when the chorus arrives it collides and scatters the elements across the green.

‘Checks and Balances’ stretches out over six minutes and as the title suggests the quietness of the gentle verses is balanced by a burst of melody into a chorus of ‘it comes around’ just like we knew it would.

This is an understated end of year treat. - DC 12.03

- Americana-UK

"Delusions of Adequacy Loves Argentine"

Tagline: "Creative and surprising post-pop, complete with handclaps and accordian."

Imagine a Bends-era Radiohead mixed with a slowed-down Pavement led by a young Thurston Moore, and you’ll be close to the sound (sometimes) of Argentine. The trio opens the eight-song In Other Fictions with the fuzzed-out and soothing “The World Gets Younger.” The initially sparse drum and string arrangement explodes into a shoegazer freakout, leaving the listener primed for more.

The other seven songs on the album seem to follow a similar “little bit of this, little bit of that” philosophy: The indie-pop heart of “Fresh Inventions” mixed with Doors-style organ, the lulling string and guitar interplay of the title track, and the lyrical rock pulse of “Slumberside” being ready examples. (Here I’d like to take the time to point out that the latter song has the best handclaps this side of Simian’s “Over the Hills”).

“Westerly” is a “straight” song, by which I mean Argentine makes its way through the verses and choruses without the use of a distortion break. “Bowling Green” brings back more spooky organ sounds, offsetting the engaging vocal line nicely, emphasizing the point that the singer is feeling “deranged.” In Other Fictions ends with “Checks and Balances,” a deliberate and placid closing to a sound collection of songs.

With little fanfare, In Other Fictions showcases a band that’s more than capable of writing excellent tunes while shunning the restrictiveness of one genre. Well done. Beren 1.12.04

- Delusions of Adequacy

"Lost at Sea Loves Argentine"

Argentine is like a quietly dignified President in the heat of a soon-historic speech. It is doubtless, as you witness his range of passion, that you will remember the sweeping gestures, the atypical force, and the steadfast strength that is only heightened by tension. Without even raising of his voice, he is pointed and powerful.

Through the eight songs of In Other Fictions, you will be moved. It is not often a band can translate the subtle and intricate feel of body language to a musical entity. It will sit sternly in contemplation, then stand sharply with authority, and with small movements, you can palpably feel the atmosphere shift.

The warm keys and shimmering drums of "Fresh Inventions" envelop the affair in ethereal smog, growing more strained and affecting as it drops to whispers. "Ender/Beginner" abruptly elevates its blood pressure, fully stirred to a reticent frenzy, enunciating intense comments under its breath. At the same time, the track is not afraid to harness its pop leanings, somewhere amid the dreamy echoes of Yo La Tengo.

On another bravely reserved, bright track, "Slumberslide", the band claps its way into a Radiohead-inspired sarcasm. It blurts lyrics over cinematic steadiness and fades into instrumental solitude, swallowed by strings and clinging guitars.

The unrelenting, stately mood of this LP remains its most impressive factor, but for differing reasons as it plays through. It has a presence, demands attention, yet never resorts to volume in its defense. It buzzes with a flurry of guitars and satisfying notions of rock, but does not succumb to outright noise at any point: it moves from the inside out.

As it melts into the unquestionable melancholy and guilt of "Checks and Balances", returning to a frightening level of emphatic silence, there remains a glimmer of hope and an outward force that never lashes out. In Other Fictions comes with a mighty recommendation; prepare to be overwrought, and thoroughly electrified, by the unassuming. - Sarah Iddings
- Lost at Sea

"Crashin In Loves Argentine"

This crew makes tension building music that flavors on the side of Yo La Tengo, Galaxie 500, and Felt. This is not easy listening, so take sometime to let it soak in. At first listen each song is layered in a soft, beautiful sweetness, then builds up into a full blast of noise that screams out to you. It's not easy to pinpoint an exact sound, but Argentine finds a way of portraying their emotion well with silence, textures, and complex originality. 2.25.04
- Crashin In

"Comes With A Smile Loves Argentine"

Toward the end of Ender/Beginner, the third track on Brooklyn-based Argentine's debut, singer Ian Carpenter let's slip a little Thom Yorke phrasing as he sings "it's no surprise to me."

Whether this is a clever little homage or an unintentional disclosure of influence is of little consequence; for Argentine, on this evidence, are very much their own band. The guitar interplay of Carpenter and Nat Guy (also of The Last Town Chorus) is central to their sound, creating texture and mood, enhanced by Timothy Quigley's unassuming percussion and Guy's lyrical bass-lines (how does this work live?). The subtly deployed use of strings is a welcome addition, integrated seamlessly rather than thrown on top to save a drowning song, and Dan Cantrell's Hammond B3 and piano adds welcome colour to the likes of Bowling Green and Fresh

The last minute of the title track, and the opening of the following Slumberside, are reminiscent of early Red House Painters. The
former seems to be settling into one of Mark Kozelek's trademark repetitive closing riffs, but pulls over to the side of the road for a breather instead.

Slumberside opens gradually, with the kind of lulling fragility of a Katy Song, but soon settles into a sturdier groove and, three and half minutes in, changes direction with a hand-clap driven section and slowly builds to a satisfying denouement.

Indeed there's so much more to this record than initial investigation might deduce, with such dynamic shifts keeping In Other Fictions from being one-dimensional, and mercifully untethered to the lazy quiet/loud template of so many post-rockers. - 07.05.04 Matt Dornan

- Comes with a Smile

" Loves Argentine"

‘In other fictions’ est le premier album d’un groupe de Brooklyn, qu’on rangera vite fait dans le genre post-pop, juste pour pouvoir s’attarder plus longuement sur eux.

Difficile de décrire leur « son », car on se trouve à la croisée de chemins différents. Il y a une certaine froideur anglaise (époque Radiohead « the bends » ; The Verve « A storm in heaven »), particulièrement dans les vocaux de Ian Carpenter, mais mariée avec un classicisme indie impeccable qui nous ramènera du côté de Yo La Tengo, Galaxie 500 et même Felt. Argentine retrouve la modernité dans la complexité et le geste post-pop de son écriture musicale.

Pas un disque facile ou immédiat, il faut multiplier les écoutes pour y entrer peu à peu et en comprendre les tendances et fils profonds mouvant Argentine. Il y a une démarche et un état d’esprit, présents ici, le groupe fait toujours preuve de beaucoup de retenue, ne sombre jamais dans un grandiloquent qui pourrait facilement leur tendre les bras. Argentine a tendance à être planant mais sans jamais utiliser avec excès les artifices de la distorsion et de la réverbération, simplement les échasses de son instrumentation et les vocaux qui prennent de la hauteur de Ian.

Un "The World Gets Younger" ouvre l’album glacialement, une guitare légèrement réverbérée mais à peine, qui égrène ses notes dans un ciel vide, quelques sons étouffés de cymbales, avec en fin de course un envol psychédélique shoegazer à la The Verve des débuts. C’est la voix qui mène la barque sur un lac à la limite du gel, le givre s’accumulant sur la voile.

Heureusement un léger réchauffement se laisse entrevoir dès "Fresh Inventions", plus lent encore mais la voix se fait plus douce et la guitare plus cotonneuse et éthérée, comme ces brumes légères qui peuvent envahir une vallée le petit matin tandis que les premier rayons du soleil apparaissent. De nouveau une envolée mais à l’orgue cette fois-ci avec une ligne mélodique qui n’est pas sans rappeler celles d’Opal et des débuts de Mazzy Star.

Un ou deux degrés en plus et c’est bientôt la fièvre dans le chant de Ian pour une mélodie cascadante, "Ender/Beginner", quelque part entre Yo La Tengo et le Radiohead de « The Bends ». Lors du refrain un violoncelle vient enflammer l’atmosphère et le chant s’envole, plane dans les airs en vocalises intenses. Suivent alors quelques sons contemplatifs à la Mogwai qui finissent par nous joindre à leur cause. Un peu cette sensation de se faire coincer, insuffisamment habillé pour l’occasion, par une averse loin de tout couvert, et se donner l’énergie quelque peu rageuse, à l’adrénaline froide, tandis que la pluie ruisselle dans le cou, pour marcher à rythme soutenu vers un abri.

Débarque alors la plage titulaire, atmosphérique et éthérée, comme des traînées d’avions qui se croisent dans le ciel noir azuré d’un petit matin. Le sol est loin, très loin, quelques instants d’une grâce intimiste mélancolique du plus bel effet. On glisse comme sur un nuage, échappés de la pesanteur, propulsé de temps à autre par une ligne de guitare slowcore.

Retour au sol avec "Slumberside", une ballade mélancolique où l’on croisera les fantômes de Galaxie 500 et Felt, ce qui fait d’Argentine une sorte de cousin américain des anglais de The Clientele. On trouvera également quelques échos à la Radiohead et The Verve, mais forgés dans un nouvel alliage qui ne craint plus l’original. Une belle chanson cinématique et passionnée.

On s’engage dans le dernier trio de chansons de ‘In other fictions’, qui sont aussi mes préférées. Car Argentine change quelque peu de corde à son arc, devenant soudainement ouvertement chaleureux, sentimental et rêveur. "Westerly" est une petite merveille de pop habitée, dopée d’un violon, de guitares parfois relevées et d’une rythmique à la Pinback.

De nouvelles dimensions intimistes dès "Bowling Green", on découvre alors de nouvelles propensions pour une pop douce qui cache des abîmes de profondeur, il y a ici une similitude des plus troublante avec le groupe de l’Australien Peter Walsh, The Apartments. On sort de la chanson dans un état second.

Ce premier album se termine dans les volutes mélancoliques de "Checks and Balances", comme dériver dans un immense brouillard ou chaque apparition se fait dans un flou féerique. Une petite merveille entre dreampop, lumière, flous, contemplation et échos slowcore. Une direction dans laquelle on aimerait voir Argentine s’enfoncer plus profondément.

Très bon premier album pour les Américains d’Argentine que l’on se jure désormais de suivre pas à pas. - Didier 07.06.04

"Time Out NY Loves Argentine"

They take the soft to loud dynamic as far as anybody in this town - but more varied and colorful - Time Out NY

" Loves Argentine"

Viva la space rock! Or to put it more accurately, viva la serene as summer rooftop breathing lavish as gold on a Klimt painting space rock! Argentine play music like you or I would approach a first date - no not the vomiting with anxiety part - but the deliberate, optimistic, aching to fall in love part.

Ian Carpenter's got a breeze through wind chimes gentle delivery accompanied by his Luna-esque guitar work, and sublimely complimented by Nat Guy's weathered like rawhide strumming and Timothy Quigley's artistic brushstroke percussion and Mocha Ishibashi's moonlight violin serenade all against on this night a lunar mission film backdrop made for quite the trippy (as trippy as Amstels can make one) show experience. For devotees of yummily thick and rich music like Sea Ray, Clem Snide, The Occasion, and Tarantula - basically music that challenges your last fleeting lucid thoughts at shows before entering that happy place. But listening to them at home or in the car proffers up a different kind of feeling - that of floating on history and sluicing through pools of lost loves not yet found - music for musing, music that creates space.
- Jasper Coolidge 1.19.04


"Even Rheingold Beer Loves Argentine"

This Brooklyn trio manages to kill it time and again by adding a flare to their familiar sound-about-town, not the easiest thing to do. Their music will fancy whatever state you may find yourself in, and take it up a notch. Their raved about self-release full of gooey and dynamic movement holds up under all the talk.
- Rheingold Beer


In Other Fictions LP

Bowling Green
In Other Fictions
Checks & Balances
The World Gets Younger
Fresh Inventions


Feeling a bit camera shy


Argentine means silver. Or it is a silver fish (also: Argentina Silas or Silver Smelt). You could also note Pericles, Prince of Tyre: "Celestial Dian, goddess argentine, I will obey thee!" But that still just means silver. None of the three members have been to Argentina. Most would like to.

Formed from the early starts of Ian Carpenter (vocals, guitars) & Nat Guy's (guitar & bass) collaborations - this Brooklyn band has grown to 5 members - Timothy Quigley (Drummer/Percussionist), Marcus Smith (Bass, Keyboards, Guitar) and Chris Curtis (almighty viola) - incorporating all their distilled influences together and adding their own aesthetic verve - from Yo La Tengo to Mojave3 to Death Cab for Cutie and Low comparisons - all mixed up to make what is now the Argentine sound - Argentine - the band. Their debut cd "In Other Fictions" was recorded in 2003 and is now being distributed internationally thru Pehr Records Distribution come late summer 2004. With "In Other Fictions" getting its international distro release Argentine plans to support the cd through more shows in and out of New York City and also garner more great press (see PRESS section) and radioplay. Currently the band resides in Brooklyn, NY and is working on new songs - while also supporting "In Other Fictions" - for a 2nd album to be recorded sometime in the future.