I’m all for the technique of comparing an album or band to another album or band in a review. It’s a useful supplement to straight-up description, especially since describing music is so damn hard to do anyway. The best reviewers use comparisons liberally but accurately. On the other hand, sometimes you get comparisons that just seem totally off-base or even misleading. For instance: in a new review of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum’s Of Natural History at ProgressiveWorld, the song “Phthisis” is compared to Paatos.
Paatos??! The only similarity whatsoever is the fact that Carla Kihlstedt sings on “Phthisis,” and like Petronella Nettermalm, who sings for Paatos, she is female. There is no other possible comparison. I just don’t see it.
Comparison can make a reviewer seem remarkably insightful or totally clueless. This particular comparison doesn’t seem very insightful to me, but then again maybe I’m the clueless one here. If anyone understands a similarity here that I’m totally missing, please fill me in. I’m not holding my breath, though.