If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then Boards Of Canada should be flattered by Principles Of Geometry. In an almost eerie way, this bearded duo from France echo the different peculiarities of Boards Of Canada, whether it be musically (lots of analogue synths), aesthetically (their obsession for the seventies), or with something so simple as an overall feel (artwork, song titles, etc).
On one side of things, Principles Of Geometry have pulled off what may be the closest thing ever to a Boards Of Canada album that was not actually released by the group. On "Arp Center," a warm analogue melody opens the release before chunky beats bang down and lock things into place. As the track progresses, layers of chimes and other melodic elements pile up while giving way to brief respites. "Kapöb Ingo" is much more rhythmic, and is one of the more successful tracks on the album as stuttering drums mingle with timpani hits and multiple layers of synth melodies while "Omagh" breaks into unique territory with overloaded beat structures that skip alongside a jaunty, repeated piano loop and cut-up spoken-word samples.
In other places, the album feels much more derivative, as "Black Barn" and "Hcm6a" sound like they could be Boards Of Canada outtakes with their simple analogue melodies. Principles Of Geometry are much better off when they're blazing their own ground, as on hyper-rhythmic versus warm pads of the album closer "Eliot's Sketchbook."
With groups that do something that is similar to another artist or group, there's a weird feeling that creeps up when listening to such a release and it's almost hard to listen to it on its own terms. Instead, (and I admit that I'm guilty of this, no matter how hard I try), one tends to hear the music of whatever release came second and then compare it against the songs of the group that came first. Then, depending on the quality, judge it as such. I realize that there have been numerous groups in the past couple years come out with albums that are seemingly trying to capture some of the mystique that has surrounded BOC, but there's a threshold at which imitation actually becomes distracting to the listening and enjoyment of the music itself (I've run into this with other genres and other bands as well). Musically, Principles Of Geometry have put together a fairly interesting album, but it's also a somewhat frustrating one.