Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Color Bars are genius

Alright... I realize the title of this blog post is a bit hyperbolic. But, I've been sitting on The Color Bars' new release Kairos At Infinity for nearly a week now, trying to figure out how to review it, and I'm just stumped. It's really good. But, it's so crazy that even taking it all in is a challenge.

Don't get me wrong. It's super easy to enjoy each of these songs as they whiz, whirl, and swirl past me at each listen. They're all catchy and fun. It's just that anytime I've tried to get a 10,000 foot view of it for a review, I have struggled.

The one sentence that I have used a few times to describe the record to people is: This is what it might sound like if Matthew Sweet and The Beach Boys got high and went nuts in a Hello Kitty store.

So, let me try to slog through something more detailed and coherent to say here...

.... okay, I just sat silently without typing for five minutes. Obviously, I'm having a hard time being coherent.

Let me try again. I'll start with the lyrics, which are sublimely brilliant. They're evocative and surprising and psychedelic, while giving an acute perspective on whatever subject they're addressing in a given song. But, perhaps even more than the lyrics, what jumps out at me is how they're delivered. In truth, I have no idea what they're singing about 90 percent of the time. But, they are delivered with such a longing that they tug at my heart even when they're singing in Japanese (the very Matthew Sweet-esque "Ja Mata Shibuya") or about Dairy Queen (the falsetto disco pop of "Nepenthe Powered Tart").

With Kairos At Infinity The Colors Bars give us a post-modern, helium-driven ride through both pop history and pop future. Sometimes loping, sometimes danceable, sometimes driving and always poppy, the record is simultaneously confounding and irresistible. I can see everyone from the most jaded hipster to the most impressionable teenager to the most sophisticated listener enjoying this record.

Either that, or it will be completely missed by all parties, and if that happens it will be a shame, because they really do have their creative genius flowing on this record.

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