Top positive review
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"Try and stop us now!"
on January 10, 2005
This little Fun-Blame Monster sure came outta nowhere, didn't it? I mean, we have pitchfork throwing up a "featured review" one moment, followed by a chorus of indie kids and online mags screaming "hell ya!" and then it's forgotten in time for the year-end best-of lists... It came and went so fast that I'd mostly forgotten about it until I randomly came upon a used copy at the local record shop. The crude dragon drawing on the front insisted that I give it a sample listen, and, rolling my eyes, I grudgingly obliged. Now about this local record store, I have to give them credit that they even have listening stations for the used c.d.s. Still, they make it pretty clear that they don't want you there too long by making it very uncomfortable- you stand in a little booth with nothing to lean on or sit on. I wasn't planning on being there too long- only 30 secs a song, 9 songs, a quick little five minutes, right? I pressed play...and stood there for the whole 45 minute runtime. Man, it blew me away.
The first thing that sucks you in is the drumming. It pummels you with complex, danceable, near-hip-hop beats- not unlike those from the Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin. And then, the melodies come in, weave a tapestry in your head, and keep you eagerly anticipating each new moment. Piano, Saxophone, Keyboards and bass flow together in most unexpected and blissful ways. I can't remember when I last heard such bewilderingly ornate melodies- those perfect tunes that never repeat a single time more than they have to, and that reward every time you listen but are never to obtuse to leave your head.
Each song exemplifies an unique approach, but it's a wonderfully sequenced album with many of the pieces flowing into each other. Really, the only weak link are the lyrics, which are pleasant but certainly not standout. But this is POP music of the highest order. The whole stands together as an ode to the clarity that comes out of loneliness- those 4 am moments when you stare out your window, perfectly content to be perfectly alone.
Yup, it was "left-field" alright, so left-field it seems it's already been forgotten. That's a real shame- this is, without a doubt, one of the most brilliant pop records in recent years. Grab it while you can.