Arizona Fameseeker and the Mono

[Self-Released; 2007]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: pop-rock, indie folk rock
Others: Hudson Bell, Elf Power, Silver Sunshine

Another Brooklyn band, Arizona is one whose pop-rock sound would be more at home in the their native North Carolina; despite press materials that insist that the their music is a suitable soundtrack to life in NYC, Fameseeker and the Mono is pure rural simplicity. And contrary to the EP’s promo sticker, it has nothing in common with Deerhoof. Arizona’s intentions are far humbler; the band’s most experimental moment is “Fameseeker (Echoes from the Halls of Decay),” a two-minute instrumental interlude hardly necessary on a record of this brevity. This is likable, occasionally quirky mid-tempo pop-rock with lilting harmonies and summery cymbal splashes in ample supply.

Fameseeker's standout track is “Life is Great,” whose choral refrains mesh perfectly with its sharp edges. “Thimble” is close behind, but in true Elephant 6 form lacks a great chorus to make it memorable. “…Imagining You,” “Bird on the Floor,” and “Midday Midnight” are a bit too fey for my taste, but there are plenty of Sufjan Stevens fans out there whom I’m certain would beg to differ; hell, there are probably people out there who dig Fameseeker’s arrestingly bad cover art.

The lasting impression of Arizona’s latest is that of a band slowly beginning to branch out into wilder pop territory, but the songs haven’t quite caught up to their composers’ grander designs. At the band’s best moments, Arizona is sugary and simple, with just enough guitar heroism to cut the syrup. Here, only “Life is Great” truly gets there, but look for Arizona to improve their batting average in the near future.

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