Don't get me wrong, it's not that there aren't moments: "Up the Beach" has that wonderfully propulsive feeling of the best of My My or Melchior—this one works instantly, as your nodding head will let you know. The groove is fabulously addictive, and there are nice microgranulated noise washes in the background that stage the break: but the break (like the track) goes on too long, and when it kicks, it doesn't kick hard enough. The last sentence can stand in as a comment on a lot of the material here: all the tracks are at least six minutes long, and most of them rely on one theme throughout. The themes themselves are all beautifully composed (as on "Sunlite," which is just lovely), the beats are intricately layered, but there is nothing more to reveal: and by the time you've heard your tenth in a row, the thrill is well and truly gone.
There are releases you instantly want to convert people to; there are others you instantly know you will never like, let alone love. But between love and hate, there's ambivalence, and indifference. While each claims the middle parts of our (dis)affection, both describe a completely different state off affairs: Care leaves me feeling indifferent. Every bar rings richly with ideas, but they're ideas that are so preoccupied with being so thoroughly, scrupulously, meticulously crafted that not a moment was spared to consider whether craft—especially in such a well-explored genre—is not something intensely suspect. Especially craft operating in the absence of passion, danger, surprise.
As a musical endeavour, Care is reminiscent of those miniatures—dragons, ogres, orcs, etc.—that geeky boys spend painstaking years painting with teeny, tiny brushes: Careful would be a better title for the album. The result is what the Japanese call komakai: intricate, meticulous and delicate, but also (perhaps, depending whether you care for such careful work) trifling, insignificant. Despite the so obviously bespoke nature of the attention to detail at work here, this is, overall, a very difficult album to love.