Particle’s first record, Launchpad, glaringly
demonstrates that artists are not necessarily entertaining just
because they are celebrated. Its release finally allows the band to
be viewed with proper perspective: as a very impressive novelty
act.

Music Reviews

The Los Angeles quartet attacked the jamband scene in 2002 with
a wild new sound displayed during a full schedule of high-profile,
late-night gigs. They certainly deserved the huge buzz that
followed. Their music is funky but intense, like electronica. It is
consistently psychedelic and almost never relaxing. Particle are
the perfect group for someone looking to keep the party going past
sunrise. They are the band that at the right place and the right
time can make you forget that your night will inevitably end.

During these moments, Particle delightfully smile back toward
the sweaty crowd, as if in acknowledgement of how much it means to
everyone that they continue playing louder, harder and most
importantly, longer. They churn out beats and lines that dare you
not to dance. They build up tension without changing dynamics and
then release it, using that explosion as the basis for the
next.

The key here is that Particle make music that is best
experienced, not listened to on record. Maybe this is the truthful
cliché that applies to most jambands, but it is definitely
why Particle’s Launchpad is so boring. While the album
has solid renditions of the band’s core catalogue, these
tunes simply don’t translate to your stereo very well. It was
wise to bring in a talented producer like Tom Rothcock (Beck, Foo
Fighters) to help out, but it might have been better for Particle
to not release a studio album at all.

Particle’s story, until now, has been an almost perfect
tale of a band honing a sound and building a glowing reputation
through word of mouth from those who have heard about or actually
enjoyed one of their shows. A poor record like Launchpad
will only expose more people to Particle’s sound in the wrong
places at the wrong times, chipping away at the mystique that the
band has rightfully earned through unquestionably innovative live
performance.

Music Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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