"Couldn't wait to be alone, sweat the months away / Instead I'll let down my hopes and freeze my bones in Philadelphia waiting by the phone / Fancy being let down, frightened by the sound of another year away."*
I really enjoyed A Study In Her's debut full-length Dialogic (the only album of the band that I've heard). With Another Year In Philadelphia being the band's fourth album, I've definitely been missing out.
Dialogic was a full disc of timid electronics, subdued glacial experimentations and whispery female vocals. Another Year displays an A Study In Her that I am not familiar with…but one I highly enjoy. Gone are the lead female vocals and low-fi electronic approach. The sound's still frail and boney, but it's got backbone. Another Year is a lot more upbeat and exciting than the debut…however there still remains a handful of slower paced songs like the contemplative opener "Another Year In Philadelphia," the acoustic chilliness of "Partners," the whispery "An Affair," plus the keyed electronics and sharp guitar picks of "Single Screen Cinema" will give you goose-bumps. Cool tracks, but the more bubbly and dynamic songs are what grabbed my ear's attention.
Quirky indie-rockers like "Marry Me Up," "Research," and "Favorite Actor" will have Chin Up Chin Up, Modest Mouse, and Q And Not U fans take notice. While more danceable tracks like "Photo Club" and "Phosphorescent Life" will have you dancing and making it pop in no time. A Study In Her does a pretty fine job of mixing things up. I lost contact with the group's sound over the years…but I'm glad I got reacquainted with this fun Philly/D.C. based outfit.
by Fake Train
*Taken from "Another Year In Philadelphia"
HOT INDIE NEWS .com
A Study In Her have created an extremely catchy, slightly punk, alternative rock album. Vocals are soothing and airy, much like the Shins or even Björk with their ambient opening song "Another Year In Philadelphia". The album carries a variety of musical genres, from jazz in "There is a Ghost In The Car", to experimental electronic in "Photo Club" and "Make it Real". Even when they seem to be "yelling", there is a smooth and even quality in the harmony. Because of the songs' quick, punk, upbeat guitar beats and airy vocals it all makes for a very catchy, modern album that could become very popular in the indie alternative rock scene.
From one moment to the next on A Study In Her's "Another Year in Philadelphia," you never know what to expect. With an ever changing line-up from studio recording to live performances, at least eight A Study In Her members performed on the album. Perhaps this is to explain for the wide variety of music "Another Year in Philadelphia" offers. From slow and dreamy to fast-paced heart-quickening numbers, the band's fourth full-length release is an unpredictable mix of sounds, emotions and rhythms.
Buzzing vocals scream over a slinking and thumping drum machine rhythm on "Make It Real" while, over the elastic pulses of "Photo Club" the band encourage you to "take off all your clothes and shut the curtains." Elsewhere on the album, the band opts for a difference sound. The fun and upbeat rock of "Favorite Actor" complements the riff-driven bounce of "True Romance," a song peppered by indistinguishable chatter in the background. "An Ex-American Girl" is a bit darker with an attitude that comes off more in your face while the steady pounding rhythm of "There Is A Ghost In The Car" is balanced by a dreamy melody.
A Study In Her are fun while still reserving some artsy qualities. "Another Year in Philadelphia" may not always remain totally coherent or focused, but their songs remain tied together simply by feeling and essence. Each sound is contrasted by another sound, a choice that makes each song stand out on its own. A Study In Her are coming into their own.
Philly's electronic outfit A Study In Her is masterful indie pop cuddled in an electronic outer shell. Something about their latest effort makes me think of what it would sound like if Billy Corgan and Moby got together, teaming up to record an experiment in pop music. Constantine Nakassis (This Radient Boy, Jenhitt) is the mastermind behind this gutsy explosion of off-kilter melodies and delayed atmospherics. A bunch of who's who in the emo, indie, and electro worlds visited the cast of A Study In Her. This is intelligent dance music period. - J-Sin
Jersey Beat review
The Philly-based art-punk known only as Costas (currently serving in India with the Peace Corps) guides his talented, rotating cast of backup musicians through an impressively eclectic and soulful collection of songs on the band's fourth full-length. ASIH's compositions incorporate traditional elements of rock and pop along with electronica, post-punk dissonance, and electroclash beats; the rhythms and melodies range from bouncy to ethereal and back again. Costa's tuneful and thought-provoking vocals anchor it all, even during ASIH's most experimental forays. It's a record that should appeal to followers of everything from Sonic Youth to Soulside to Superchunk. - Jim Testa
Pucknation dot com
Score: 6.5 (of 10)
Another Year In Philadelphia is the fourth full-length record by A Study In Her. The band was started in 1998 by Constantine Nakassis (This Radiant Boy, Jenhitt), and previously released the full-lengths Dialogic (2002), Autoamputation (2003), and Peripheries Of Hollywood (2005.)
The press release for this album compares A Study In Her to bands as varied as Bloc Party, Smashing Pumpkins, The Postal Service, and New Order, and listening to Another Year In Philadelphia one can hear where these comparisons might be made. The album opens with the title track, which is an ambient low-fi electronica song, before moving into a more dance-rock sound with "True Romance." These songs are not terribly original and don't show very much range, but they are fun.
Vocally Nakassis shows a pretty good range, going from high, light echo-y vocals on "Another Year In Philadelphia" to mellow singer-songwriter vocals on "Favorite Actor." Lyrically these songs are pretty interesting and decently written, but not very catchy.
Overall: Pretty good indie-dance-electronica-low-fi-rock.
http://gometric.typepad.com/ gometric/2008/10/a-study-in- her.html
Some pretty heady, layered pop that alternates between
Grandaddy/Postal Service-esque synth dynamics and Gang of Four/Radio 4
rhythms. It takes a while to navigate through the sounds but in most
cases a keen ear can latch onto a hook. Former members of Charlie
Brown Gets A Valentine are in this group, which doesn't give you a
musical reference point other than loose recognition that ASiH is a
different take on electro-pop/rock/clash much like CBGaV was a
different take on indie rock/punk tunes. -- Mark Hughson