Album Review: The History of Science and How to Mend a Broken Heart - The Wonderland Project

"Traditional distribution and payment models for music are broken!"

We all hear it everyday, and yet the labels seem intent to do everything they can to repeatedly stab their customers in the eye and treat them like morons rather than give them the choices they want. The Wonderland Project neatly sidestep this issue with their album The History of Science and How to Mend a Broken Heart by, erm, not really distributing or charging for it. Sort of.

So whilst it may be available in iTunes and on Amazon (which is good for you as it means you might stand a better chance of hearing a copy) the 'primary' method of distribution is the listener. Imagine peer-to-peer constrained to the physical world: the idea is that there are a number of CD copies of the album out in the wild right now, waiting to be found in places, each accompanied with a note instructing the finder: You can listen to it and stick it on your iPod but then you must leave it somewhere else for someone to find and put the details on The Wonderland Project website so they can track the album's movements.

It's a captivating and magical idea and, frankly, the majors should be kicking themselves for not thinking of using this as a method of promotion for a major artist.

So how does it actually sound? The History of Science and How to Mend a Broken Heart is a blend of country-tinged electronic music that most closely resembles Nowergian alt-acoustic musician Magnet. There are also hints of The Postal Service / Dntel in the bleeps and clicks of the sparkly 'You Look Prettier When I'm Happy' and Radiohead on some of the darker tracks like 'A Sense of Community'.

For the most part it works: The History of Science... is an enchanting record that sounds like it was made to drag you through a dreary Monday morning and with such an innocent distribution model it's hard not to be charmed. It attempts to capture the magic of those moment in life that stay with you: helping a beautiful girl get fuel for her car, meeting a stranger on the train; and, just occasionally, it captures it.

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