TILT Music Blog – Styrofoam
Arne Van Petegem is better known around some fans of his music as the Styrofoam dude. He was able to combine two sounds that where coming of age (or increasingly more recognized) in the beginning of this new millenium, being those the indie rock sound and the electronic. With his indietronic idea in hand he left Belgium and started in the Berlin music scene where he started developing a fan base and some interesting connections, both very important.
In 2008 Petegem returns with a new album titled “A Thousand Words” where he mantains the invited vocals as in previous albums, but this time he puts more emphasis in his participation and to give it a different taste, he did not produce the album, unlike previous releases.
In 2004 “Nothing’s Lost” album he had some big indie names such as Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service, Valerie Trebeljahr from Lali Puna, and Andrew Kenny from American Analog Set and this time around although he does most of the singing and the guests are mostly participants of beautifully arranged duets, you can expect people such as Blake Hazzard from The Submarines, Erica Driscoll from Astaire, Jim Adkins from Jimmy Eat World, solo artist Jimmy Rouse and Lili de la Mora from The Year Zero.
This album, even though it has a more polished sound and can be considered more commercial than previous releases, still captivates the indietronic sound that has established his name in the market. All things considered it’s a very easy to listen album, since it’s has 11 tracks and the average time of each one is about four minutes, but I’ve heard it two times in a row and it just seems short, which is a very good thing for an album. It means that the listener gets involved in it and enjoys it, a mark most artist I’m guessing would love to pull on fans.
From the album the songs that caught my attention the most include the first one “After Sunset” which I could have sworned it was a new Postal Service song. It had that same vibe and playfullness that most of their song possess, but being them friends and collaborators, I’m not surprised at all. Exactly the same can be said about the song “Bright Red Helmet” with it’s papa parara choruses, it turns it into a catchy tune. The song “A Thousand Words” which gives the title to the album, lowers the tempo from the previous song and complements with nice vocal arrangements. Among the duets with his guests I have to say that “Microscope” with Blake Hazzard is the one I like the most, it’s once more a Postal Service type song. I don’t know if this close comparison hurts his individuality or helps him get more exposure, but either way the songs are quite good, and the sounds are just great. But I guess a great thing to say about the newest musical inquisition by Petegem is that he’s the star of the album, and not just the producer/musician. That’s a great re-start no matter how you look at it.
Live video from Styrofoam feat. Ben Gibbard on song “Couches In Alleys”