Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Secret Mommy - Plays

(LINK FIXED 11/04/2007)

Plays operates according to a single restriction: No electronic instruments were used in its creation. Dixon and a revolving cast of supplementary musicians recorded improvised performances on guitar, woodwinds, horns, and strings, then Dixon cut and pasted these recordings into his usual neon scrimshaw. "String Lake" harnesses sprightly acoustic guitar loops, chirpy strings, and moistly sputtering percussion into a hyperactive bounce, while on "Grand About the Mouth", a threnody of falsetto harmonies, mellow woodwinds, and epiphanic whistles wends euphorically around sharp flecks of guitar. Cheery horns cut clean figures through the brambly stammers of "Diciduism". This template extends to encompass the album-- minutely sculpted rhythm tracks flicker frantically as bright, breezy melodies are sketched out broadly.

While this technique produces invariably engaging results, Plays tends to be most interesting during its genre exercises. "Kool Aid River" is Secret Mommy's take on emo: Guest vocalist Gregory Adams' voice peals out with readymade conviction amid the track's rubbery squeaks, sometimes breaking hard and clear above the mix, sometimes blurring choppily into it. And the fluttery "I Can't Get Down" sounds like an homage to Madlib-style indie-rap, with its helium-sucking vocals and its pitch-shifting beats. With its assiduous eye for bold contrasts, elegant symmetries, and intricately stylized lines, Plays is like a really slick silk-screened flyer, translating visual impact into sonic. You could argue that certain ideas on the album are boring, but there's literally never a dull moment in its high velocity flurry of color and shape. -Pitchforkmedia.com

Track Listing
1) String Lake
2) Grand About The Mouth
3) Deciduism
4) Kool Aid River
5) Trust Me, Cub
6) To Burry A Tent
7) Inch Up To Fur
8) Plays
9) The Tale Of A Bird Hit By Lightning
10) I Can't Get Down
11) Up On Mt. Okay
12) A Bear At Hotel Cuba


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