St Louis art rock quartet’s prickly, unpredictable third outing.
When a band announce that their new single has been re-recorded in five different languages, you know you’re not dealing with a conventional rock’n’roll outfit. And for all the urban stylings and indie-pop grit on this Missouri mob’s second album, there’s something very prog about their determination to bend traditional pop templates. As Conor Murphy’s R’n’B-gone-rogue falsetto rubs up against post-punk angularity on Grand Paradise, you’re reminded of abstruse art rock oddballs like MGMT. ‘I walk around with a hangover, shrugging my shoulders, fucking up everything,’ he grumps agreeably on Slapstick, and this theme continues on
Lich Prince as he admits he’s ‘thinking of new ways to fuck with old friends’, before a snarling guitar solo throws a tantrum and then collapses into despairing yelps of ennui. And yet the former track has a stirring emotional swell to its melodies that draws you in as effectively as any arena rock chorusmerchants would. At times it resembles traditional power pop made by the musically dyslexic: the chords don’t go in the correct order and the songwriting formula seem to have been misread.
But what’s not to like about that?