The Kallikak Family The Vineland Social Maturity Scale

[OnPurpose; 2004]

Styles: electronic, field recordings, ambient, lo-fi
Others: Philip Glass, The Books, Joyce’s Ulysses

I've been taken by surprise on countless occasions when it comes to listening to a new artist or band. In fact, more often than not, I get so caught off guard that I immediately give praise without a second thought. This approach often sets up our readers for possible disappointment. So recently, I've given more time for albums to soak through my thick-ass cranium, sometimes giving albums months prior to reviewing it. This is the case with The Kallikak Family's The Vineland Social Maturity Scale, a collection of pop-folk recordings filled with psychedelic melodies and haunting minimalism. And as most albums lose their initial enthusiasm, The Kallikak Family continues to impress and astonish after repeated listens.

The Kallikak Family is known as the study in the heredity of feeble-mindedness and was introduced in 1913 by Henry Herbert Goddard at a training school in Vineland, NJ. The Vineland Social Maturity Scale is a parallel to the methods used in the study, showcasing a devoutly corresponding and equivalent measuring in the musical sense. As humans progress in maturity and development, so does The Vineland Social Maturity Scale. The opening track "One Familiar Person" is a simplified, hushed folk ditty that is absolutely compelling. As the album progresses, so does the accompanied instrumentation, as many elements are intertwined with Andrew Peterson's luscious acoustic ballads. And the addition of off-kilter harmonica and drums as interludes keep the progression of the record fresh and invigorating.

Like the Kallikak Family scale of evaluation, The Vineland Social Maturity Scale advances astonishingly with its gorgeous musical creativity and imagination. It's an impressive project marked with all the signs of a positive future. But don't let me tell you that. Pick up a copy and analyze the record yourself. You'll find that The Kallikak Family succeeds at the proverbial journey to maturity.

1. One familiar person
2. Billionaires
3. I fight
4. (harmonica)
5. Hands Clenched
6. It's 4 o'clock
7. (girl)
8. Shopping Mall Sun
9. (drums)
10. Martin Kallikak Sr

11. Royal