Weird War Illuminated by the Light

[Drag City; 2005]

Styles: funkadelic rock
Others: Scene Creamers, Make-Up

This record helps me remember what it was like to hear Beck for the first time (which for me was circa "Loser"): accessible, slightly oft-kilter songs with a fresh sound -- completely unique, but not in anyway radical. Compared to Beck, it's definitely related to Midnight Vultures, but the group's main relation to Beck is the sense of freshness and lo-fi funk stylings. With fuzzy synths, nonchalantly dancy bass lines, and super sassy falsetto vocals, this record could be the 2005 soundtrack to a bouncing pre-party or a late night driving music; but it's not quite fit for the club floor. The album's highlight, "Girls Like That," showcases this feeling with its spoken intro, "What? No. Who? I dunno know." It's hip, cool, and loungy and dancy at the same time. It is, for better or for worse, the dance music for people who are too cool to actually dance.

While the style behind this album is solid and fresh, I must admit that I've not once managed to listen to the whole thing in one sitting. Maybe it's my ADD, but the album gets really repetitive and just drones into the background. It's not that the individual songs are weak -- since it always seems pumpin' when I start the disc midway -- but their similarities slowly erode the novelty of the album. My flip-flopping attitude towards the vocals epitomizes my feelings towards the entire CD: I can't decide if the vocals are the most awesome thing about the band, or if they're merely the most distracting. I guess there's always a line between fashionable and annoying, and this thing walks pretty tightly on both sides.

1. Illuminated
2. Mental Poisoning
3. Girls Like That
4. See About Me
5. Crystal Healing
6. Visit To The Cave, A
7. Word On The Street
8. Earth, Mama, Woman, Girl, Child
9. Motorcycle Mongoloid
10. Destination: Dogfood
11. Put It In Your Pocket

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