Life in a Blender
Tell Me I’m Pretty
Disclaimer: I used to hear this band quite a bit ten or eleven years ago when I lived in New York and we had mutual friends. They’re really quite fun live, or at least they were more than a decade ago. I bet they still are. But I never formed a prejudice for or against them, so I’m quite qualified to judge this record.
Life in a Blender is pretty much singer/songwriter Don Ralph’s show. The whole wacky sensibility of the band comes straight from his goofy/serious lyrics. He tosses off a lot of great stuff here, and I quote: From “Something Must Break”: “Our love was an ocean / Filled with creatures of the deep / Now they all surface as the water runs dry.” From “Sex With Cops”: “I like her abandon / She says ‘Keep your hands in the air’ / I know it’s not random.” From “Prize at the Bottom” (which is a funky cello-driven skank, by the way): “There’s a picture in my wallet / It’s of me and a whore / And there’s a coupon for a Big Drink / At the convenience store.” Dude can just rattle off stuff like this at will.
And the band is tight and correct in that we’re-so-weird way: great boho slow-jam on “Party Soon,” Tom Waitsian dub jazz on “Dead Get Down,” straightforward doo-wop indie rock on “Hero Rising From the Sea.” But the music is all subservient to the words, and it doesn’t feel like some tracks quite come together. And if you don’t like surreal stuff or tracks with twists and turns halfway through or bands containing half a string section and a singer who sometimes just kinda croaks, then you won’t be feeling this. (And if you can’t stand They Might Be Giants, to whom Life in a Blender has some informal ties, then stay far away.)
Me, I like it just fine, but I won’t be playing it much. Limited tolerance for way-out wackiness, maybe, or might be that some of the grooves are too leisurely. But overall this is a fine effort for a band that’s been around a long time just doing what they do best: be professional weirdos, with a deep streak and a Pixies/Frank Zappa fixation.
Fang Records: http://www.fangrecords.com