I might be a little biased because it was the one album I'd heard already, but to me this is their definitive effort. Part of it is that it just sounds significantly more of a piece than previous records (despite the fact that five songs were
originally on previous records). This is where they commit more fully to pop songs: heavily psychedelic, often disorienting and vaguely ominous pop songs, but pop songs nevertheless.
There's supposedly a concept
here involving witches tempting their victims into a forest with magical candy: This doesn't necessarily come through in the lyrics, though there are a lot of references to candy, forests, and sunshine in both the lyrics and the song titles. The music itself definitely fits in with such an idea though, alternating between the hazy pastoral bliss of "Sun Lips" and more menacing cuts like the hyper-distorted "Melt Me". And actually, even the most peaceful sounding songs have at least a slight tinge of menace, often due to strange synth sounds and Tobacco taking his vocoder effects to new heights of creepiness. So while the actual story (if there is one) remains vague, there's a definite sense of the setting: Just listening to the songs I can imagine The Lost Woods
within a Crapsaccharine World
Sun Lips, When The Sun Grows On Your Tongue, They Live In The Meadow
Extra Flavor (Dandelion Gum-Era Sessions)
This is actually a set of bonus tracks for a reissue of Dandelion Gum
itself, but is available on it's own on itunes, so it counts as it's own album in my book. Most of this material hasn't been heard before, but some of it has, albeit in different forms: There's three more remakes of The House Of Apples And Eyeballs
songs, an alternate version of Dandelion Gum
's "Untitled Roadside Demo", and even a song they'd later revisit for Eating Us
("Twin Of Myself").
Pretty much all of the tracks are up to the band's standards - it kind of becomes apparent that these songs were outtakes just because they either filled the same role one of the tracks that did make the album did, or else just didn't quite fit the vibe: For instance "We Are The Pagans" blends lo-fi acoustic guitar with their typical technicolor synths in a slightly less memorable way than "Syrup For The Cemetery Sisters", while "Mockingbird Comes Calling For You" would have been a great eerie closing instrumental, but the album already had an eerie closing instrumental in "Untitled Roadside Demo". As far as tracks presumably discarded for not sounding like the rest of the album, "Another Place" and "Changing You All" hearken back to the acoustic guitar experiments on Falling Through A Field
, but with the addition of a little synth and vocoder. "New Twin Of Myself" and "Old Yes" are more interesting propositions because they seem like they didn't make the cut because they sounded too much
like fully developed pop songs: "Old Yes" in particular feels like a BSMR take on Dream Pop
, and even makes me think a little of Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" for some reason.
There's definitely nothing I'd cut from Dandelion Gum
and replace with any of these tracks, and it probably would have felt a bit much if they let it run over an hour. On the other hand, these are still quality tracks that anyone who liked that album should hear.
The Dark Forest Joggers, Happy Melted City, Old Yes