New single from this long-standing experimental indie group is an awkward fit for any one category. Geeky and peculiar, the group have yet again demonstrated to us their penchant for writing songs that provoke intrigue.
At first, What Is This? comes off as whimsical – like the music for a cartoon scene involving some kind of dark sorcerer. The drums are sparse and jumpy, spooky organs play in the distance, soft vocals chant in matter-of-fact melody about the concept of time. The play of musical ideas renders a mask, but never fully obscures, the existential themes and the feeling of disconnect in the lyrics.
Then, without warning, the song genre-hops into horn-brandished psychedelic folk for a palette-cleansing outro. Guest vocalist Charlie Blu rounds off the tale, laying her vocal over a euphoric progression and lifting our spirits. Right on.