I've narrowly missed listening to this a few times already. Other albums have stolen in and seized my attention. But now I sit watching the Superbowl 46 and it's time to try and soundtrack it with some tunes.
Beta Band in my face. "Default" is sodden with their influence, vocally in particular. The three/four of them singing together in near harmony with Lothian accents. Guitars twinkle in and out as you might expect from a band named after M. Reinhardt. "Firewater" has a pleasing psychedelic stomp, going off on a "Day in the Life" style busride to close off. Hot Chip are another reference point: any thoughtful pop group comprising gauche young men getting out of their heads. Or early Depeche Mode. "Waveforms" breaks down into staccato baroque moves around the middle like The Beach Boys might. "Zumm Zumm" has a touch of the harpischord as well; very welcome.
Lyrically, I haven't been able to pin them down quite yet. "WOR" seems to be walking the path of the war/love metaphor, but is too slippery in plain sight. It also has a nice air-raid siren cranked out on it, which I hope they managed to drag into a studio somewhere, though I suspect they didn't. "Storm" is crisp and peacocky. "Skies Over Cairo" has a funny electro-boogie feel running underneath its cod-Egyptian business. "Silver Rays" quicksilvers its way to close the album.
Oooh. Spotify has a cunning version of the album with two of the band explaining what the songs are about. Lyrical themes include going-through-the-motions hip hop beefs, getting drunk, melancholy dancing, time travel to guide mankind through "the pitfalls of war and money", getting lost and losing what you're looking for, road trips, the romance of surf life, the vastness of history and being shipwrecked on a beautiful island. I'd say the chief lyrical inspiration is being in a band, a bunch of buddies in isolated places and a sense of joining in the flow of pop music history.
"Stitch the phrases together/Until something starts to make sense."
Playful, warm and clever with itchy melodies. Approved.
Rating: Sailing out of Mischief