Comprised by Jay Blumenfield and Tim Quirk (previously of Too Much Joy), this new release features music that was originally created and released via a Web site. Yet they enjoyed the fruits of their labor so much and found that the various tracks that they had intended as toss-offs to hold together so well that they eventually released them together. In hindsight, they were probably right to do so. The album holds together remarkably well and despite the tracks being composed at various times throughout the past year, there is a startling consistency to the sound and quality.
The album opens up with the pop gem “Donner Lake,” a song that interweaves a homage to summertime love while evoking the time when the Donner Party was trapped at the same location. And, they had to eat each other. In fact, if I had to identify the two themes that appear to dominate the lyrical themes on this album it would be love and decay. These fragile pop tunes, once you get past some of the toy instruments that they rely upon, you realize that the lyrics are not as sweet and light like the melody would belie. That would no doubt explain their folk/acoustic reinterpretation of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”
Other tracks, such as “Black Box,” which begins with a lush instrumentation and arrangements, and the tender lyrics reinforce this concept: There’s a black box recorder in my heart, it’s always on in case disaster starts. If I explode the box becomes a prize, they’ll play it back just to hear your lies.
Or again, “Chapel Of Bones,” the synth-pop tune that evokes They Might Be Giants with the chorus: “I kissed you in a chapel of bones.” On this track, narrator fantasizes about life if his lover dies and then what life would be like if he died.
Overall, I quite like this release. Quirky enough to be different while tuneful and sincere enough to be engaging. This release once again illustrates that great pop music doesn’t require a multimillion dollar studio, it just requires a wit, soul and some creativity. Most of all, as Wonderlick demonstrate on the final track, “Monti 8,” it requires an awareness that: “We’re all gonna die.”
Future Farmer Recordings: http://www.futurefarmer.com