Sunday, September 4th, 2005
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 6
|The Russian Futurists / Our Thickness (Upper Class)
Matthew Adam Hart’s love of synths and working alone often get his Russian Futursists project compared to the Magnetic Fields, but with his third album Our Thickness, a more apt reference point would be The Flaming Lips. The production has the same sort of transistor radio symphony quality as the Lips’ older sound, but the songwriting is less deliberately wacky and bombastic. What it is is relentlessly melodic and poppy and a feast for the ears. There’s so much going on sonically that it can sometimes be a challenge to pick out the vocals over the sleigh bells or drum machines or answering machine samples, but this is a record that’s probably meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, lying on your back with the headphones on.
|Sparrow / The Early Years (Absolutely Kosher)
Sparrow is the new nom de plume of Vancouverite Jason Zumpano, namesake for the band which till now was best known for spawning The New Pornographers’ Carl Newman. After Zumpano (the band) dissolved in 1996, Zumpano (the dude) laid low till 2003, when he released Sparrow’s first self-titled record. Despite the name, this album was actually recorded after the first album, in the Summer of 2004. Sparrow offers up wonderfully gentle and melodic slices of pop, augmented by strings, horns and harmonies from Young & Sexy’s Lucy Brain. The nine tracks zip by in just over half an hour and if there’s a complaint, it’s that it’s too laid back – the hooks bump you but don’t catch and ultimately you find yourself wishing it had that one killer pop song that raised the level of everything around it. Maybe next time.
Again, only a pair today. Maybe I’ll be able to get back to three once I’m properly unemployed.
np – Bob Dylan / The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7: No Direction Home – The Soundtrack