Saturday, September 3, 2011
BOBBY - BOBBY (2011)
Slap the label psychedelic or experimental onto a band and I’ll admit I get incredibly suspicious. It doesn’t matter how many times such suspicions are refuted; it’s a sort of knee jerk reaction from hearing a lot of crap. So the first couple times I’ve seen Vermont music collective BOBBY referred as such turned me off to them. And then I chanced upon a 7 minute live video of the band performing “It’s Dead Outside” on NPR, shrugged my shoulders, and watched the whole thing. Then I grabbed the album.
The thing that really appeals to me about BOBBY is that it’s remarkably listenable. The way the band handles their rather gargantuan cast of players and almost equally large track lengths is nothing short of astounding. Minimalistic sprawling soundscapes and dreamy otherworldly vocals are the formula they stick to and yet each song remains fresh and vivid with exciting musical sounds. Perhaps it’s because their experimentation doesn’t have that everything-and-the-kitchen-sink or random-things-that-sound-cool vibe, instead their decisions come off as balance of intelligently methodical and richly organic. There’s no excess on BOBBY, each track coming to complete development in the time it is allotted. At no time does a song appear to be dragging or do you wish it had gone on longer; each track reaches its full potential and then gives way to another well-crafted creation. It’s an album that plays like a dream: the tone consistent throughout linking each song where its sounds and lyrics may not.
So for all those who might be scared off by labels like I am occasionally, another definition might be necessary. BOBBY creates masterful pieces that artfully weave together elements of folk with synthesizers and other electronics while also maintaining a sort of sparse, untouched melodic truth. If you haven’t listened to it yet, give their self-titled debut a listen, it is no doubt bound to be an enriching experience.
Get a taste for BOBBY with the same video that introduced me to them featuring "It's Dead Outside":