“Like Dirty Projectors?” ads for Rubblebucket‘s new album, Omega La La, have been cropping up on Facebook for the past couple of months, but the social media connection doesn’t end there: the band are also offering their album as a free download through the site. The connection to Longstreth & Co. seems a bit forced, as the comparison starts and ends with pretty, female vocal harmonies and the ability to use eccentric instrumentation in the formation of uncluttered, off-beat songs. There’s a good bit more of Shapes and Sizes’ mathy, off-kilter indie rock; the funky, kinetic attitude and disco beats of Tom Tom Club; and Delicate Steve’s flurry of sunny, tropical jams.
It’s almost hard to believe that Rubblebucket’s lineup boasts eight members at first, as the march-y intro to “Down in the Yards” kicks things off with a simple on-off guitar chord pattern, clacking drums, and occasional burbles of electronics sitting behind the male-female vocals. But then a flock of horns, synths, bass, and more guitars bring a funky groove to the mix. The partially French-sung “L’Homme” has the effervescence and synthy plink of Stereolab, or maybe it’s the chop shop electronicity of The Blow. Immediately after, “Silly Fathers” shows flashes of classic pop groove and bravado.
“Came Out a Lady” may be the best track of the bunch, vocalist Kalmia Traver sounding like the long-lost sister of Shapes and Sizes’ Caila Thompson-Hannant on the verses, forging a unique identity combined with the horn section and synth squiggles. The horn section gets to be a bit much on late album tracks like “Triangle Daisies”, but, luckily, fresh instrumental additions like whistling and slashing guitar solos keep things lightly afloat.
After the immediate “this sounds nothing like the Dirty Projectors” comparisons (aggressive advertising letting them down), a neat, little album folds outward, flying along on its own power. The constantly shifting instrumentation and eccentric genre choices demand attention. While the album as a whole can stretch on a bit long, a few tracks are worthy of repeat listens and should find even better reception in warmer, brighter weather.