St Louis art rock quar­tet’s prickly, un­pre­dictable third out­ing.

Prog - - The Musical Box - JS

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?

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