The Sugarplastic: Bang, The Earth Is Round

bangtheearthisroundThe Sugarplastic, at least on Bang, The Earth Is Round, is like a mix between They Might Be Giants and “Weird Al” Yankovic. They’re a bit of a gag band, kind of light-hearted with some cutesie melodies and silly, often too-cute lyrics. They’re not smart enough to be TMBG musically, or lyrically to be “Weird Al.” Really the best comparison is that they’re a lighter Presidents of the United States of America.

The thing they do best is in the production, the way certain, often off-beat or unconventional, sounds come and go just underneath the surface and add a lot of color to what is otherwise pretty plain instrumentation and timbres. It’s these little accents they make to their straightforward, almost nursery rhyme songs that makes it bearable. And I’ve still got to be in just the right mood to not have the silliness of the songs drive me nuts.

They teeter on the edge of annoyingness for the whole album, tipping over into it too often. The songs are well-crafted and only rarely too indulgent. I can’t find a whole lot to outright hate, but this is definitely not my style. I never want to listen to it again, but if I do I won’t be upset…just cringe a little.

Rating:
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– “Another Myself,” “Sheep,” “Don’t Sleep,” “Montebello,” “The Way It Is,” “Polly Brown,” “Oh Charlene,” “Say Katie,” “Soft Jingo,” “Ohio”
– “Transworld Model Operator,” “Little Teeth”
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. Another Myself –
  2. Sheep –
  3. Don’t Sleep – Very “Weird Al” vocal. warbly vocal at other times.
  4. Transworld Modal Operator –
  5. Little Teeth – could have been saved as open if they’d quit at the first wrap-up point instead of coming back and doing the whistling.
  6. Montebello – upbeat. I like it until it gets to the chorus. At least we get two verses before the first chorus.
  7. The Way It Is – 80 seconds. Nice heavy feel. Sweet bass licks. I love the piano cluster hits mid-track. Might be full only b/c it’s the least bad track.
  8. Polly Brown – Great lyrics.
  9. Oh Charlene – Very POTUSA here at the end of the chorus. Even sounds like Chris Ballew at one point (“not this time around”).
  10. Say Katie – got an old-timey feel. Both in the guitar strum and in the crooniness of the vocal.
  11. Soft Jingo –
  12. Ohio –
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