Electronic music? Chick singers? Neither are really my thing. Farewell Continental, ¡Hey, Hey Pioneers!? Totally rocked my socks off. This album sneaks into that same spot usually occupied by guilty pleasures. This one though, isn’t guilty, just unexpected.
Though, poppy and undeniably catchy, there is a great amount artistic musicality behind every one of these songs. From layered vocals, to the play between male and female voices, to heavy beats and rhythm to the phonetic sounds that individual words make, it is the sound of the lyrics that demand the listener’s attention. It is as if Farewell Continental channeled the voice of Gertrude Stein an electronic indie scene in 2011.
The album starts off with the quiet, Seasoned Veterans a kick ass song which could have been a solid track for a Motion City Soundtrack album. It is in track two, Capybara, where the album begins to show its thoroughly unique sound. The cadence and rhyming lyrics, that don’t necessarily make complete sense with the surrounding lyrics, causes the listener forget about a deeper meaning and just start moving along to the intoxicating indie goodness.
Now, with that said, there are tracks that offer fabulous lyrics. Track eight, New Tile Floor, has some of best lyrics that I have heard on any album. It kicks off with “How long must I wait in the dark / for the night life to tear my insides apart.” Damn. Sold. You have my attention. The sparse music and quiet voice paired with those lyrics instantly makes this song the strongest on the album. The song alternates between Justin Pierre and Kari Gray each vocal building on the previous, yet the voices still in a separate place. “We don’t kiss on the tongue / we just slash at the wrist” followed “She tries hard to dress up her wounds / but the blood is collecting and starting to pool”. Their voices come together for the chorus, but they never let you feel collected.
The remaining tracks on the album all offer their own, different, contributions to the album offering something new from song to song. A Story from the Bottom of the Sea has a Cramps influence while The Explorer Settles Down channels Dylan. With all the varying influences showing through in their music, it is Gray’s vocals that offer the strongest unifying thread to tie the whole album together.
Head over to Paper + Plastick to get your copy of ¡Hey, Hey Pioneers! NOW.
Farwell Continental will be on tour through June 19th. Their myspace page has their tour schedule, check them out if you can.