Originally written 07/10/12 for ELECTRIC BANANA.
In an interview, frontman Gavin Gardener said that ‘the lyrics came to me in a dream state’, and that certainly shows within their signature celestial sounds. However, this is an alternative country-styled clash of a calm drift through the clouds and some nightmarish themes.
Yes, alternative country. What could that possibly mean?
Everything you might find in stereotypical country is here. There are bowed strings, banjo-style guitars, and within one line of the opening track, Gardiner has already mentioned how “they came from Tennessee”. ‘Take Me Out’ sounds like a cowboy’s variant on the first dance at a wedding. It’s the sound of a band quietly jamming in an old Western saloon, with a mirror ball, dangling overhead.
But there is much more to consider than that. Throughout, there are subtle sounds that you wouldn’t find in those primitive times – the ‘alternative’ bit. In the background there is the otherworldly twinkle of glockenspiels, and guitars reminiscent of U2’s The Edge where you might expect the fiddles to be, as if you can barely hear Sigur Ros performing next door.
It’s what you might hear at a base if prospectors colonized the moon (which sounds like a great idea for a Disney film) – an ethereal, electronic hum over idle ukulele strumming.
This sub-zero coolness continues into the misleadingly titled ‘Bald, Naked and Red’. Its grim name makes it sound like an, abrasive cry for help of someone who couldn’t be anymore damaged. What should be impossible to ignore, is in fact barely noticeable.
The album is very reclusive, and never screams at the listener, as an record that features lyrics about being told by a doctor that a loved one has a terminal illness, as is the case with ‘Your Fight Will Not Be Long’. Even rapid rattle of snares at the end of ‘It Gets Old to Be Alone’ is unusually relaxed.
It’s pleasant, calming and quirky enough that it’s rarely dull (albeit repetitive, as one song, ‘Angelina’, has a four-minute reprise), but it’s not a thrill ride. It’s definitely a nice album to shut your eyes and sink into your bed to, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.