Dreamy pop music has been around for a long time, and it will probably be around for an even longer time. It doesn't matter how many times it's played or said, it seems that someone can always come up with a slightly different way of saying things. Con Dolore falls into this category, and although they aren't making any crazy new strides into some uncharted musical territory, they have created a nicely listenable album with This Sad Movie.
Mixing part organic sounds and part electronic, as well as small doses of ethereal rock, shoegazer pop, and the classic 4AD sound, the 13 songs on this album (the creation of which spanned almost 2 years) create a long trip through many different moods and eventually come to terms with the age-old thoughts of love lost. Composed as a trilogy of sorts, the disc starts out on sort of light, upbeat note, and gradually works its way to less-happy places. The cover art convey's this sort of beginning-of-the-end quality photographically, but comes off as much more cheesy than the music itself.
After an instrumental "Opening Theme" that consists of some sound washes and a nice piano refrain, the album gets started in earnest with "The 7th," which flows along nicely with some nice keyboard washes and a nice electronic beat and introduces the listener to the light, airy vocals of singer Kristy Moss (formerly of the band Polar). Singer Ed Ballinger takes on more of the vocal duties on the following two tracks, and they take on more of an organic feel with light guitars, vibraphones, and soft percussion. Musically, the album hits a real high point on "All Our Favorite Cats" and although the lyrics will probably be found silly by non feline people, the muted breakbeat rhythm and plinking electronic sounds compliment the vocals of Moss perfectly (sounding somewhat like a track off the excellent Flux album by Love Spirals Downwards).
Those electronic flourishes are continued on the following track "Fractions Of A Second" (which is basically a cut-up and extension of the themes of the former track) and probably the loudest track on the album "Feed Us All" (which mixes both vocalists, guitars, and a fairly thick beat to a lush effect). On the other side of things, the group has stripped-down tracks like "Unexpected Love" and "The Happy Girl" that are more traditional in sound but offer up some hazy guitars and rhythm sections that recall old Cocteau Twins.
If you're a fan of shimmering sounding pop tracks that don't really fall into a mainstream sounding category, or even like some of the lighter work on the Projekt label, you'll definitely find something interesting on this release. Although there is definitely a unifying feel to the entire disc, the group explores quite a few different sounds within that realm and even though the disc runs well over 70 minutes long, there's enough variety in the tracks to keep you interested up until the end (and even through the hidden bonus track). The lyrics tend to get on the overly dramatic side at some points, but if you're interested in some of the above mentioned artists or the genre in general, it's an interesting release in a glutted genre.