Dieter Sermeus, the Belgian singer/songwriter for Orange-Black, released a side-project under The Go Find moniker a few years ago that went largely overlooked. The result of his efforts was called Miami, and immediately comparisons to The Postal Service started to (rightfully) crop up.
The Go Find’s second release, Stars On The Wall, continues with the resemblance to Ben Gibbard’s own side project with some additional hints of The Sea And Cake atmospherics and some blatant nods to Radiohead that are prominently found in the mix.
Whereas Miami featured an overused reliance of 80s retro synthesizers, Sermeus incorporates more acoustic and clean electric guitars into the dreamy arrangements of Stars On The Wall with dry rhythms placed prominently up-front in the mix. This blend of cold mechanics and unrefined arrangements ends up making Stars sound more futuristic than its predecessor.
And more enjoyable too.
Sermeus does have his limitations, namely with the narrow margins of his affable vocal range and with occasionally weak lyrics (“I saw the weeping boy / Crying rivers filled with joy” – “Beautiful Night”). But when you consider that this is, after all, a pop album, the limitations become a little easier to overlook.
“New Year” is the album’s strongest contender for a single here, with such a memorable chorus that had me looking forward to the track every time I played the album.
Immediately following it is another winner, “Adrenaline.” Starting with a lonely Fender Rhodes and a slow drum machine, the song layers on some additional synthesizers and echo, turning the whole thing into a sonic dream while the chorus of “You were the only one / Who could prove I’m wrong” repeats underneath it all.
Sermeus declares how “All we want is fake….It happens” (“Everything Is Low”) while managing to introduce us to a fingerpicked resonator guitar on “Downtown” and a banjo on “Monday Morning.” Throughout Stars On The Wall, the listener is treated to some cleverly placed organic and electronic instruments like this, which not only keeps things interesting as it’s playing, it enables the album to hold up after repeated listening.
The Go Find has tailored a wonderfully concise (total time: 42 minutes), filler-free album that avoids being pigeonholed into one specific style or genre. Instead, Dieter Sermeus has managed to construct a surprisingly pristine pop record that proudly wears its many influences on its sleeve without trying to sound smarter than it actually is.
The Go Find – “New Year”