The Televangelist and the Architect is a MIT PhD student named Jerry Chen (with various friends helping out) who seems to get a kick out of hiding his face in the band’s promo photos. Then again, when you produce something that is simultaneously pompous and dull (a nifty trick) anonymity could be a blessing. Expecting Nothing out of Everything tries to create a grandiose composer-based pop record while tying it to, of all things, French Cinema. It is already a stretch, but the effort achieves the station of failure, as Chen does not know the limits of his own voice.
There are violins, violas and cellos playing throughout over light drums, piano runs and a few guitars skirting the edges. Musically things seem directionless through the majority of the album, even though it is presented as some sort of movie/melodrama. Mid-tempo tracks stay the course until the last few (“We Were Disinformed”) briefly try to amp the drama, but the real issue isn’t contained within the music.
When presenting a “work of art” like this (and wanting to be taken seriously) you should really write the songs within your vocal range and Chen strains and falls short of notes so often it seems to be part of the story – one he didn’t intend. The lyrics are written as a conversation between a man and a woman but vocally they are never presented as such or even distinguished between, making it hard to follow any sense of structure if one wanted to try. The vocal choices are so distracting it is hard to get past them and there is not much more to Expecting Nothing out of Everything when you do. One positive is the packaging though, as it will look better on the shelf then it will sound through the speakers