Friday, March 6, 2009

Music Review : Everything, Now! : Spatially Severed

When I first received Everything, Now!’s press packet, I was slightly nervous. A band that advertises themselves as “space gospel” and whose most recent album, Spatially Severed, features a cover photograph of a man in a blue jumpsuit looking very proud of himself, and instead of a head he has a giant inverted crustacean. In my experience, something that wacky can only mean two things – it’s really awesome, or it’s really terrible.

I needn’t have worried, because Spatially Severed is decidedly awesome. The band, composed of five guys from Indiana, Dan Skipper, Justin K Prim, Jon Rogers III, Eric Alexander, and Dave Carter, has a sound that seems to come from farther south, especially reminiscent of the Flaming Lips at their best, with hints of David Bowie, T-Rex, jangle-pop like the DB’s and Big Dipper, early Of Montreal. They combine pure oldschool rock and roll energy complete with pounding keyboards with a sort of liquid sumptuousness of sound, their music sounds very big and full, with great vocal harmonies and brilliantly funny lyrics. There were about a dozen examples I thought of when I was listening to Spatially Severed, but I think I’ll just offer the opening line of “Burden Time,” the first track –

“He was born, it was awful.”

Most songs on the album carry a science fiction theme, bring that up to almost all if you count the afterlife, angels, God, and assorted paraphernalia as science fictional – and regardless of your personal beliefs, or the band’s, for that matter, which I know nothing about, these subjects are treated in about the same way in the lyrics. Sometimes this sort of theme could come off as gimmicky, but the combination of well-crafted, often very funny lyrics and really good musical background – catchy and well played – I think I could enjoy their sound even if I had no idea what they were talking about, and the stories in the lyrics are a bonus – everything fits.

The opening song, Burden Time, is short and sweet in a jangle-pop style, followed by Shelter, which is more lo-fi with shouted call-and-response vocals. Labyrinth, the third track, sounds like a good soundtrack piece to a 60’s spy movie. When I heard the beginning of track four, Brother of the Prodigal Son, a country piece with minimal instrumentation, I was pretty credulous. However, once I heard the lyrics “the celibate spaceman’s sister was selfish enough to say the baby was his – so he came down on his astronaut’s cross just to prove that he couldn’t have kids” – delivered in complete earnest, I laughed so hard I almost cried and this track became a favorite.

I could go on and tell you about every song on the album, but this review is already really long, so let me just say, Spatially Severed by Everything, Now! is a well crafted album, with witty songs in various styles. I would recommend checking them out.

1 comment:

Ste. Goldie said...

Great review! I downloaded it for review and now I will listen to it :-)