Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PAS/CAL - I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura

I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura
(07.2008, Le Grand Magistry)
Verdict = Glorious mutant kitten pop...

I don’t even know where to start with this thing. Let’s start this way: PAS/CAL are the most polite, tactful pop music anarchists that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to; and it is a pleasure indeed. After a lengthy string of singles that, to be honest, I never noticed, PAS/CAL have (for some people who have been following along longer than I) finally released their debut and by golly is it a glorious mess! Actually, it isn’t a mess at all (pretty tight to be truthful), but on the first listen you may walk away a little confused. Personally, I found my initial spin quite bewildering and more than a little overwhelming. I think the reason for this reaction is because of PAS/CAL’s ability to integrate classical, sugary pop tropes into song structures that have more in common with inventive prog rock songs than two minute radio jams. PAS/CAL literally pack more successful, skewed ideas into one of their three minute songs than our modern day Weezer can fit into an entire album. And I’m not even trying to pick on Weezer here because that comparison would apply to the majority of indie rock/pop being released today. So, obviously, it can be a bit suffocating on first listen, but bear with it, I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura is worth it. The thing with PAS/CAL’s version of mutant pop is that it doesn’t feel so hyperactive and twee as, say, Architecture in Helsinki’s. The band carries a certain, for lack of a better word, maturity that seems to belie such extreme experimental tendencies. Somehow it just gels though and after you begin to break in the PAS/CAL leather couch the band has a way of enveloping into its sunny, dancy, auper catchy smarty-pants pop. To resurrect an old Sassigrass term, PAS/CAL make “dad-rock” (…er, pop) injected with hyperactive sense of youthful experimentalism. In truth, I am not sure if this stuff will register well with all ears, but for these ears PAS/CAL’s brand of ‘glorious mutant kitten pop’ is a welcome revelation and certain contender in 2008 for pop album of the year.

-Mr. Thistle

PAS/CAL - "You Were Too Old For Me"

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