The Onion :: 4 May 2005
Dream-pop can be a hard genre to master, with all its molten guitars, clanging beats, and ethereal melodies. Ingredients mixed wrong become unappetizing slop-which may be why so many former dream-pop bands, from Lush and My Bloody Valentine to Lilys and Jack Drag, have either changed their sound, or quit making music altogether. Durham, North Carolina dream-poppers The Sames released a promising EP in 2002, and they didn't rush out a follow-up, presumably because bandleader and producer Zeno Gill was taking precautions not to sully the formula. As it happens, he gets it almost exactly right on the band's full-length debut You Are The Sames, which houses some of the most satisfying shoegazer music in years.
Gill establishes his control about a minute into You Are The Sames, when the anxiously banging guitar of "Heart Pine" hits the chorus and bubbles over instead of exploding. The second song, "In Liberty Lights," sports the melody and lyrics of a dippy hippie rop, but has acid dripping from its sleeves and a heart that keeps skipping beats. "The Light That We've Bent" lays shimmering guitar over a soft martial rhythm, as Gill murmurs about "music machines"; "You Are A Ghost" follows stunted guitar twang and sputtering drums into cobwebs and shadow. The disc peaks with the rushing, crackling "Downtown," which romanticizes streetlights and the way "everybody's right" in the city.
From the thousand soft punches of "There's No Mystery Here" to the somnambulant AM radio-pop of the album-closer "Snake," The Sames take pretty tunes and happy thoughts and refract them through prisms of noise and unexpected rage. You Are The Sames squeezes hard and pats gently all at once, while Gill constructs an atmosphere of collaborative violence and mass hypnosis. This record is all about typing out positive messages on onionskin paper, then setting the pages afire. - Noel Murray
The Independent :: 4 May 2005
It's been three years since The Sames released their self-titled EP; three long years to those who adore their barbed melodies sheathed in gauzy dissonance. The band tightens their interpretation of the pop song on You Are the Sames, as the hummable verse-to-chorus modes run on the fuel of dense instrumentation; piano, theremin and Wurlitzer pack each number here, alongside the usual bass, drums and synthesizers. The best moments happen at the nexus of noise and anthem rock, when the song's catchy sharpness goes stratospheric in overloaded, feedback-rich guitar bursts; see "In Liberty Lights" and "Bomb Scare." - Chris Toenes
The News & Observer :: 22 April 2005 :: "Critic's Picks"
Now hear this: You are hereby commanded to acquire "You Are the Sames" (Pox World Empire), the totally fabulous new album by Chapel Hill's up-and-coming Sames. Once you have it, cue up song No. 6. As befits a song titled "Bomb Scare," it will scare the hell out of you. But its alternately pounding and chiming guitars will also make you want to jump up and down, and you'll want to hear it again. Repeat when necessary, then repeat with the rest of the album - an impressive, fully developed work that more than lives up to the Sames' promise as one of the best bands around. "You Are the Sames" should resonate far beyond the Triangle, so see them here while it's easy to do.