Present on every song, shaping keyboard and organ notes and blurring guitar and vocal tones, fuzz might as well join Dennis Coyne, Casey Joseph, Matt Duckworth and James Young as the fifth member of Stardeath and White Dwarfs.
The Oklahoma City band’s latest, “The Birth,” was released on vinyl and as a digital download May 19 and on CD this week. The 10-song collection would be better absorbed with the vinyl release, not necessarily for the analog warmth of the older medium, but rather because the larger album cover might better facilitate the spreading, de-seeding, separating and rolling the album inspires and was undoubtedly encouraged by.
Distant vocals, acoustic guitar and atmospheric synthesizers lay a bed for the gentle “Smoking Pot Makes Me Not Want to Kill Myself,” a song that makes me want to smoke pot and kill time and a bag of Funyuns. A similar contact high is felt on “The Sea on Fire,” an organ-driven album opener featuring gated drums and spacey vocals by Coyne, the nephew of lead Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne, who reflects both internally: “I think that I need to take some time to decide whether I’m wrong or I’m right” and externally, noting: “You think that you look like the fortunate one / But your life, it doesn’t look like much fun.”
“New Heat” indeed sounds the newest’ a perkier song with dance-pop drums, accents of electronica and a more transcendental Coyne, who smoothly croons, “It’s hard to take control when you know you’ve gone too far.” The jazzy lounge jam, “I Can’t Get Away,” is an album highlight, filled with slick grooves and bursting keyboard and guitar shrieks.
Recorded with Trent Bell at his Norman studio, the new album isn’t for the impatient or ears with limited wanderlust. “The Birth” is a bit tedious, but its meandering easily fills a set of headphones, where dedicated listeners can delight in the disc’s strange layers.”Joe Wertz