Ulysses 10

The latest in a respectable list of releases by or connected to Elephant 6 founding member Robert Schneider, Ulysses’ 010 sonically moves away from his previous projects like Apples in Stereo and Marbles while maintaining some of his innate sense for melody and simple, yet extremely effective, arrangements. Recorded with a single microphone, the songs on 010 have a much more focused attack, while still sounding surprisingly detailed. But production gimmickry and a respectable past can only go so far, and what ultimately makes the record a disappointment is Schneider’s songwriting, which very rarely is as parasitic as it once was. He still tosses out a handful of great hooks, of course, like on "The Falcon,” "Frustrated,” and "Castles in Spain,” even if the latter’s chord progression does sound uncannily like "Burning You,” which comes just two tracks previous. The album’s monotony is another point of contention, though what had once made most E6 records so significant wasn’t their range as much as the quality of songwriting, and Schneider’s accomplishments of old are certainly not being challenged anywhere here. Still recommended for E6 collectors and Schneider apologists, but newcomers should just opt for older Apples in Stereo records instead. (Eenie Meenie)