Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Because We All Have Limited Gigbytes: "Odd Blood"

These days if you're in a band it's impossible not to create a genre. Or claim to create one, anyway. YOUR BAND is not just "rock"; you're "post-metal-neo-new-wave". Or the first to deem your sound "pseudo-Lauper-low-fi-punk". Maybe you alone have mastered the potential of "new millennium-Broadway/porno soundtrack/chill hybrid".  And while I do get the wanting to be distinct thing you need to know that, while avoiding pigeonholing, it also places your image somewhere between awesomely descriptive and totally useless. For example, I am the leading writer of random-music themed-Moscow based-Canadian expatriate-snark-blogger commentary. Set up a niche small enough and you're bound to rule it. But it's also like being president of the club you set up in your mum's closet--kinda fucking sad.

Unless this is your club. No wait--I meant especially. Especially if this is your club.

When their last album came out, Yeasayer dubbed their sound "Middle-eastern-psych-snap-gospel", placing them squarely in the "Muliticoloured Kangarabbit Kids Club" camp. This year's Odd Blood has a slightly different sound from their last album but they're still in the club. It's a little less psych, a little more pop, and a dash of synth. (I wouldn't go so far as to say synthpop but, y'know, it's there.) There's something very 1984 about it. The year and the novel. 

Not following? Okay, imagine you take a shitload of acid and go to an 80's party. Tripping balls and surrounded by electric guitars, synthesizers and Simon le Bon haircuts you are asked to compose an album on the spot. That album is probably going to come out sounding like the bastard child of a back alley condomless one night stand between Pink Floyd and Tears For Fears.

Simply put, it's going to come out sounding like Odd Blood.

And that's not a bad thing. The album is bold, experimental, and pretty much kicks ass. Trouble is, the band doesn't seem to know where the strengths are. Their first single was "Ambling Alp". I'll give them musically catchy, but the lyrics put my ears into a diabetic coma. This song sounds like something a youth group leader plays to show how hip he is. It's, like, totally the best song at church camp. And I am not big on church camp.

Then there's "Love Me Girl," which sounds direct from the synth no-man's-land of the late 90's. Heading back to that time for this genre is like one of Moses' Jews heading back into the desert for a walk down memory lane. Dude you're lucky anything survived; don't go picking through the bones.

So the album has its weaknesses. And since iPod space doesn't grow on trees, here (in my opinion and open to debate) are the songs to make room for on Odd Blood:

Third Best: "Madder Red" (released as a single Sept 13th) --for it's wordless chorus that everyone will sing along to, and for the fact that I can now use "experimental-psych-Celtic-anthem" in a sentence. 03 Madder Red by Mr. Shuffleupagus

Second Best: "I Remember"-- Because as you read this, some Hollywood asshole is pitching a remake of Say Anything. And if that should come to pass,  this is the song that John Cusack 2.0 will have playing from his boombox 04 I Remember by Mr. Shuffleupagus

Best on the Album: "Mondegreen"-- Because it's the musical equivalent of doing a line of coke: euphoric surge of adrenaline, the world picks up pace, and you feel way cooler than you actually are. 09 Mondegreen by Mr. Shuffleupagus


  1. Thanks Larissa, I found my Haloween costume for this year. No one will get it, but that's fine. I just have to walk around with my hands flopped over at my boobs all night : ) Good, strange, new band for me...thanks. Forget the 80's are back...the early 90's are back!

    jennifer u

  2. Early 90's? Really? FINALLY.
    *crosses fingers for a clear Pepsi comeback*


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