Release Date: Apr 12, 11
“Mystical and primal” is probably the best way A Lull’s label, Mush, could describe them. Your tropicali psychedelia wishes all come true on the Chicago quintet’s debut Confetti – and while releasing your first full-length is certainly cause for celebration, it isn’t exactly reminiscent of any confetti-involved parties you may be familiar with. Unless perhaps they took place south of the equator on a rain forest trek for designers who wanted to get inspired for some exotic line at Anthropologie. Embedded in the many layers of percussion and the ambient sounds of both vocalist Nigel Evan Dennis and electronic jungles, a true devotion to getting a record right is evident. And Confetti certainly accomplishes that. But almost to the degree where the perfected mysticism-of-the-wild sound becomes a long blur of strange enchantment for 48:50.
To open, it sounds at first either like a city traffic scene or a jungle party on “Weapons For War.” It’s as if the Rainforest Café hired someone to create a more modern advertising campaign. By the time lyrics come in after a minute and a half, it almost feels as though they’re unnecessary. When I make out the sound of strings and some distortion in the background though, things start to feel more appropriately falling into place.
Although the title doesn’t seem convincing of much thought, “Dark Stuff” has a peculiar beta beat with a pop harmony of lyrics on top. Singing about travelling with friends is pretty sugary, and paired with the beat-keeping vocalizations it makes for a sort of alternative summer anthem. By which I mean it kind of makes me think that if American Eagle made an extended commercial for some co-ed vacation line of smiles and bonfires and friendly adventures, this would be the featured song.
Sounding like a street festival, “Phem” is like a refractory lovers’-pop period to the idea of Confetti. I’m relaxed listening to the 5:03 of bass-heavy harmony. One of the greater points of the album, feeling like a more finished track, although it also feels like it could have been finished a little earlier than when it ends.
Dropping the tropical act for a hot second, “Water & Beasts” feels more alternatively rock. Although not straying far from the echoes of their wild-sided sound, there’s something more conventional I guess you could say. Half-way through, dipping into a slow movement of what sounds like “ho” on repeat (in what I’m assuming to be a totally vocalization-only usage), the pick-up leaves the rock elements behind and becomes something more akin to Caribou. And maybe a carnival.
Ending the album is eleventh track “Aytche.” It sounds, as a song, the way it looks and sounds as a name. Singing of a grinning man with a bottle, there’s some sort of storyline that seems more like words thrown together because they rhyme here and fit the tune there. But then again, the album itself feels very much that way – tossed together tracks upon tracks to make (dare I say) an overly-cohesive compilation of songs. Interesting, sure. Fun, sure. But if you’re looking for the next big sound, or even for just a band that switches things up in their music, it’s not on here.