Plus/Minus ends in the red on new disc

BY SASHA RESENDE
Daily Arts Writer
Published October 28, 2008

Plus/Minus
Xs On Your Eyes
Absolutely Kosher

2 stars out of 5

The New York-based threesome Plus/Minus has ridden the indie-electronic bandwagon all the way to its fourth full-length release Xs On Your Eyes. While the band's latest disc lacks the originality that typically accompanies a monumental — or even adequate – release, it makes up the difference with a string of easily-digestible, poppy indie-tronic cuts.

The record offers a relatively diverse assortment of tracks, ranging from slowed-down synth beat numbers to cutesy guitar-driven cuts. While varied, the mishmashed release shows that Plus/Minus has failed to solidify its own unique style. Consequently, the group is unable to stand on its own in a music field that's running rampant with synth-based electro-look-a-likes and Hot Chip-wannabe outfits. While Xs On Your Eyes has its moments of excitement, the band ultimately comes out sounding like another bland offering in the realm of rising indie troupes.

“Tired Eyes” opens the haphazard album, showcasing a standard “pretty” intro of bells and quiet vocals before erupting into an erratic guitar arrangement. The disc's subsequent tracks include uplifting pop-rock musings (“Subdued,” “Xs On Your Eyes”), acoustic chords buoying reminiscences of past loves (“Marina”) and quick-stringed misses (“The Queen Of Nothing”). Few cuts stand out and the entire affair sounds hastily thrown together, with little cohesion to hold together the component parts.

A more successful attempt comes in the form of “You'll Catch Your Death,” a serene song of hushed electronic notes over a persistent drum beat. For the only time on the entire album, Plus/Minus finds its swagger on the confident cut. With Xs On Your Eyes, Plus/Minus regrettably proves to be a “minus” on the checklist of up-and-coming indie rock bands.