Recorded in just over a year with a sizeable group of collaborators and performers ‘It’s The Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir The Honey Pot’ is the latest album from Maryland rock outfit Teen Suicide and according to the band it will be their last. Consisting of 26 tracks covering an array of genres including punk, noise, country and electro dance music, the record is as eclectic and charming as it's title is long.
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This is set to be Teen Suicide’s last record, which would be crushing I’m sure, if fans weren’t very much expecting frontfellow Sam Ray and friends to continue making the same hooking, melancholy music under any and all monikers: they’ve already moved on with Julia Brown, whose first record ‘An Abundance of Strawberries’ has come out twice since 2014 -- excessive, I know, but hey. Here’s a twenty-six song long album. Many artists in Sam Ray’s indie pop position know how to do one thing and rock at it: he’s more akin to the Alex G school of interdisciplinary weirdo songwriting, taking on long instrumental passages, the ambient ideas of Ricky Eat Acid and stretching long, symphonic arrangements into post-punk guitar lines.
Dude can do a lot, basically, so why not twenty-six songs? He can weave a narrative, and so he should. The record opens on “Living Proof”, which is a long fucking amalgamation of genre and giddiness, eventually dovetailing back to earth on a riff mathier than any of Kieran Leonard’s -- actually it kinda sounds like indie pop’s answer to Joe Satriani. Straight after, he pens “The Big Joyous Celebration”, which is one of the strangest pieces of lo-fi I’ve ever heard: it’s got glitched synths of Boards of Canada, the thrown off half-song structure of Guided By Voices and a vocal to match Jeff Tweedy. It’s a lot. Teen Suicide’s music. Is a lot. And though the hooks are rarely grabbing, that makes them all the more special: this record is catchy in a looping, suggestive way, such that when it breaks into something more forceful (the hard-strummed chord sequence of “Alex”), you notice it.
I’d love to just break these songs down one by one with a throwaway word or two (“Violets” is a Christmas no. 1, “Obvious Love” is the Caretaker meets U2’s “Beautiful Day”, other bullshit like that), but they’re busy with sounds and riffs I’d feel guilty for leaving out. It’s best to say that this is one of those sprawling lo-fi records you’re gonna have to go get lost in, much like you did with the Microphones ‘Glow Pt. 2’ -- Elverum is perhaps a good touchstone, too, because though this is a record with more electronics, more intervening noise and stranger blends than that one, it has the same tenderness and complexities.
Also, this is the best record to mention Netflix since Bomb The Music Industry!’s ‘Vacation’. Nice branding you guys.
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