Jonah Furman is the kind of guy that just has too many feelings to sit still. “Whenever I have a good time/I just miss my suffering,” the Krill frontman exclaims before professing himself the titular “Oppressor”. The “Theme From Krill” finds a tiny sea bug jumping into his mind, daring to “split his head.” That manic, oddball emotion fuels the Massachusetts trio’s Lucky Leaves, its bristly take on classic indie rock run through a hamster wheel via Furman’s yelping idiosyncrasy.
Furman throws darts all over the emotional map on “My Boy”. He starts out comforting what sounds like a recently dumped friend (“you’ll always be my boy/even when you’re scared and sad”), but winds up in a corner of self-effacement.”If I find myself blaming myself/I’ve got no one to blame but myself,” he caterwaulingly repeats over Luke Pyenson’s snare rim clacking. The delightfully manic-depressive “Never A Joke” finds Furman finding the root of his bad feelings in the failures of a favorite basketball team and people’s ability “to make someone feel zero,” each delivered with an equal dash of wide-eyed pain.
Furman’s lank bass lines and Aaron Ratoff’s mercurial guitar match the minimalist mantra of “Purity of Heart”: when faced with confusing emotions, think about one thing, and “to keep it all straight, think it a lot.” Throughout the album, Furman’s barks border on the bare minimum, his lyrics occasionally boiled down to a single line for a minute or two. “If you wanna feel like a failure, that’s your right,” he howls and yaps on “Infinite Power”, each iteration setting its own twist of emotion ablaze.
Krill’s rankled jangle recalls Modest Mouse or Built to Spill, but with Doug Martsch being treated for rabies: excitable and spastic, but with half a mind (perhaps the half that’s not bug-infested) still able to focus. That focus shows on closer “Theme From Krill (Reprise)”, the majestic, riffy arrival of Krill taken to their most low-key. It’s all acoustic slink and subdued vocals, yet the “Theme” retains that offbeat slant. Furman is Furman whether he’s high or low, and even when he’s both at the same time.
Essential Tracks: “Never A Joke”, “Oppressor”, “Purity of Heart”