It helps that The Caribbean lay out their mission statement on the cover of the album, as part of the art: “’Discontinued Perfume’ seems to be about living a strong, practical, grown up life and being comfortable with leaving that world and accepting the unknowable.” In short: adult music.
If you’re still trucking along at this point, you’re in for a trip. “Discontinued Perfume” falls somewhere between The Mountain Goats intimate story-songs and the bizarre experimental pop of Xiu Xiu. The songs are all melancholy and calm, but abrupt rhythmic shifts, unusual chord changes, eccentric arrangements and more keep the listener off-guard for the majority of the album. The Caribbean never sets down a straightforward song; that’s not the point of this album. For proof, just try and guess what’s going to happen next, lyrically and musically, in “Mr. Let’s Find Out.” It’s impossible.
This is the sort of album that melds itself to people who find it at the right time. I can’t separate out Damien Jurado’s “Rehearsals for Departure” from a specific time and place, and I will defend the record nearly to the death; this will almost inevitably be the case for someone who picks up “Discontinued Perfume” at exactly the right time. It’s just that sort of album. Hopefully you’re that listener. —Stephen Carradini