Indie Buzz Bands & Robotic Lawn Mowers
CMG editor-at-large Aaron Newell is bang-on when he says that Hysterical “plays like Radiohead’s Pablo Honey (1993) and The Bends (1995) B-sides…even the intense parts are delivered as the defeated/pummelled Yorke would’ve, which makes it even more Radioheady.” I’d slash that to add radio-ready (oh, snap), since this is by far the band’s most pristine album; “Same Mistake” arguably sounds a bit like the Killers.
Elsewhere, Alec Ounsworth does a fine job in writing some of the best songs of his career: different as they may sound from the usual CHYSY fare, “In a Motel” and “The Witness’s Dull Surprise” are two of this year’s most moving ballads—the former languishing in acoustic torpor before showing signs of surprising recovery with a calm and moving, string-assisted finale, whereas network TV people, if they’re listening, should have a field-say with “Dull Surprise.” The song sounds like a coffin strapped to the roof of a moving vehicle, except the coffin is filled with flowers, and nobody’s died, and in fact the vehicle can do special things like fly and stop wars. It’s a really good, romantic, rainswept song. I imagine it soundtracking the final scene in a romantic comedy where a would-be groom suddenly decides that he wants to leave his fiancé for a robotic lawn mower, but then eventually he changes his mind.