10 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sinister yet charming, Systems Officer creates disquieting soundscapes set to insistent grooves on Underslept, its first full-length release. The brainchild of San Diego’s Armistead Burwell Smith IV (Pinback, Three Mile Pilot), this project has a noticeable Britpop vibe to it, harkening back at times to the eerie early work of Pink Floyd. As Systems Officer’s sole vocalist and musician, Smith carefully constructs darkly hypnotic tracks out of simple elements, emphasizing pianos, electric guitars and drum loops. His vocals frequently rise to a keening falsetto, adding to the bewitching quality of songs like “Pacer” (heard in TV’s The Vampire Diaries) and “Deyos.” A queasy psychic dread haunts “Quan,” “In This World” and similar tunes, giving them the tense, vaguely unearthly feel of a sci-fi narrative. The album’s furtive ambiance is propelled along by funky yet sleek beats, with “Shape Shifter” achieving a particularly visceral drive. Smith has a knack for melody as well, as evidenced by the pensively tuneful piano line carrying “East.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Sinister yet charming, Systems Officer creates disquieting soundscapes set to insistent grooves on Underslept, its first full-length release. The brainchild of San Diego’s Armistead Burwell Smith IV (Pinback, Three Mile Pilot), this project has a noticeable Britpop vibe to it, harkening back at times to the eerie early work of Pink Floyd. As Systems Officer’s sole vocalist and musician, Smith carefully constructs darkly hypnotic tracks out of simple elements, emphasizing pianos, electric guitars and drum loops. His vocals frequently rise to a keening falsetto, adding to the bewitching quality of songs like “Pacer” (heard in TV’s The Vampire Diaries) and “Deyos.” A queasy psychic dread haunts “Quan,” “In This World” and similar tunes, giving them the tense, vaguely unearthly feel of a sci-fi narrative. The album’s furtive ambiance is propelled along by funky yet sleek beats, with “Shape Shifter” achieving a particularly visceral drive. Smith has a knack for melody as well, as evidenced by the pensively tuneful piano line carrying “East.”

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