SJ Esau Wrong Faced Cat Feed Collapse

[Anticon; 2007]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: indie hop, collage, indie rock
Others: Why?, Beck, Beta Band

SJ Esau (known to his mum and pops as Sam Wisternoff) dabbles in a little bit of everything on his Anticon debut, Wrong Faced Cat Feed Collapse, and much as the album title hints, Esau is all over the place. Combining nasty noises and stream-of-conscious lyrics with sweetly played guitar and pedestrian hip-hop beats, Esau has created an album more collage than cohesive thought. Though it’s dizzying to focus on the album as a whole, dissected into songs, Wrong Faced Cat Collapse holds some pleasant surprises and unusual twists.

“Queezy Beliefs” filters chamber music through ancient folk and electro-pop to create a song as powerful as it is understated. Esau sports a fondness of Irish pub folk throughout “Cat Track.” Coupled with screeching strings and a horror-movie melody, it flourishes amidst Esau’s cut-and-paste method. “Halfway Up the Pathway” is a playful, lo-fi, one-man acoustic ditty reminiscent of the best two-minute disposable pop songs of our time -- it even comes complete with a quick rewind of the song to finish off the track.

However, as fine and down-home as these moments may be, they’re on an infinite loop throughout the album. It’s a sad case of déjà vu the more you plow through it, and the more you keep asking, “Didn’t I just hear this song a few tracks back?” the more the album will wear thin. It may be a clumsy excuse to avoid an album, but in the case of Wrong Faced Cat Collapse, it’s a warranted one -- unless you are one of those listeners who puts the same song(s) on repeat for hours at a time.

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