In my current position, I’m fortunate (and unfortunate) enough to hear dozens of new albums every month, and the vast majority of them fit into two categories: (1) They sound like a bunch of stuff I’ve already heard, but aren’t as good; or (2) They sound like nothing I want to hear ever again. (Often, the submissions fit both categories.) But here I found an oasis.
Hailing from Seattle comes another winner from Secretly Canadian: Throw Me the Statue is nothing short of brilliant.
A few notes on just a couple of the tracks: “Lolita” is a good-natured, upbeat ditty occupying a space somewhere between the quirkiness of The Flaming Lips and the stripped-down, clean sound of The Kinks. It’s a great song that relies heavily on multiple forms of percussion (including electronic(?) hand claps and glockenspiel!) to bounce into your skull, but it’s still complex enough that it doesn’t stay in there for days. It’s not catchy so much as easy going. If this tale of post-adolescent love doesn’t make you smile, you’re probably just bitter in general. “Moonbeams,” the title track, made me think more of Donovan, but not the goofy Donovan, The Shins, and Peter Bjorn and John. Before fading out in a beautiful horn solo, lead-singer Scott Reitherman warns, “Things get lost in the moonbeams here . . .” A very sweet song. “Take It Or Leave It” is more guitar driven. The lyrics are kind of dopey, but the slightly Pavement-ish riff is infuriatingly catchy.
The band has garnered comparisons to Magnetic Fields, Guided By Voices and the Dismemberment Plan, but if you’re like me and none of those three groups knock-your-socks-off, don’t be dissuaded. I hear many other influences here as well. Even more important, none of the influences are worn on the sleeve. TMTS is hardly a pastiche or a retro-tribute. This is a highly original piece of work. No two songs sound the same, but all of them flow together, end on end, like a real album should. I can’t praise it enough.
Note: This is a re-release of the Baskerville Hill Records release, with some revisions (but I’m not sure exactly how different it is, because I never heard the original album).
This is How We Kiss