It Looks Sad. Sky Lake

It Looks Sad. Sky Lake
7
The debut full-length from North Carolina duo It Looks Sad. could be in the running for most quintessentially post-genre album of the year. Post-emo, post-surf, post-indie; the duo of Jimmy Turner and Alex Ruiz operate in hazy interstitial spaces, a factor that's both a weakness and strength on Sky Lake.
 
There is perhaps a lack of potency to this watery, 15-track album of relatively interchangeable (but generally good) tracks, but its earnest, exploratory nature is real and authentic, and the band end up in some interesting and affecting places by album's end.
 
What's immediately striking is Turner's fairly liberal, un-self-conscious use of Auto-Tune (usually verboten in indie circles), an element that, taken alongside the lo-fi bedroom production values and electronic flourishes throughout, puts the album (somehow) in the same universe as SoundCloud-style mumble-rap — an interesting cross-pollination to say the least.
 
There's no rapping on Sky Lake of course; in fact, the bands It Looks Sad. resemble the most throughout are Beach Fossils (especially Clash the Truth), Ducktails, and (more distantly) Surfer Blood. They may be a band best described by references, but Sky Lake is an often beautiful (if perhaps forgettable) soft-focus montage of very current indie rock striving; anyone interested in the porous borderlands of today's indie scene should check it out. (Tiny Engines)