In what’s becoming a running theme on this blog, I’d always conflated these guys with Dillinger Escape Plan. Both bands have “Plan” in their name and the D words imply violence. But they’re really different. These guys are like a mix between emo and math rock, which I guess just means they’re math rock, huh?
Actually if this reminds me of anything, it’s like the perfect cross between Shudder To Think’s last two albums: Pony Express Record and 50,000 B.C. There are guitar lines that suddenly veer in unexpected directions, squealy guitars slammed into your earholes (e.g., “What Do You Want Me To Say?”), and a disaffected vocal line that can sing very well but chooses a more stylized delivery more often than not (parts of “What Do You Want Me To Say?” really get me on the similarities.)
This separates itself from Shudder To Think primary in the heavy use of keys and electronics. Heavily layered updated versions of synthetic sounds from the 80’s are, aside from the lyrics, the prominent feature of this album. “You Are Invited” even uses a drum machine for about its first half.
The lyrics are also quite stylized, but run a pretty wide gamut. There’s the banal (“The garbage goes out on a Thursday now”), the affirmational (“You are invited/By anyone to do anything/You are so needed/By everyone to do everything”), and the dystopial (nuclear holocaust in “8 1/2 Minutes”).
Anyway, I love it. This is what Dandy Warhols are trying to be. It’s got some of that cutesiness, but the these guys are talented enough that the cutesiness never overshadows the songs or the performances. The first half of the album is weakened by the songs often not being completely crafted despite having some really cool parts. Things really get turned up an extra notch on the second half, where the really awesome stuff lies. “Gyroscope” is a contender for song of the year. If the first half were more like the second half, this would easily be 4.5 clowns.
– “You Are Invited,” Gyroscope,” “8 1/2 Minutes”
– “A Life Of Possibilities,” “Memory Machine,” “What Do You Want Me To Say?,” “Spider In The Snow,” “The Jitters,” “I Love A Magician,” “The City,” “Girl O’Clock,” “Back And Forth”
Song Notes: After the jump
- A Life Of Possibilities – Such great sounds. This song starts like it’s mid-song already. Mid-album even. Really gets awesome for like the last 100 seconds.
- Memory Machine – “Red wire/Rectangle/Black wire/Rectangle”
- What Do You Want Me To Say? –
- Spider In The Snow –
- The Jitters –
- I Love A Magician – One of the mathiest.
- You Are Invited – The verses end up being a little obnoxious, a little too Dandy Warhols, but the chorus at the party where the song explodes is really, really nice.
- Gyroscope –
- The City –
- Girl O’Clock – awfully mathy here, too.
- 8 1/2 Minutes –
- Back And Forth –