Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So I managed to wrangle the McLovin's first album, titled 'Conundrum,' from my dad today for a long car ride. So I sat and I really listened. I mean really listened. Kind of internalized the music.

So here is my, unbiased (we're friends on facebook..its a big deal), complete, in-depth, honest opinion of the album:


The more I tune in to their stuff, the more I'm liking these guys. Definitely my favorite track on the album at the moment is Bri (In Memory Of). When I heard it for perhaps the third time today, it really clicked. Knowing a vague backstory and inspiration for the music made it that much better. From what I've heard, it's about a friend of the trio who has passed on.

And just listening to it and thinking, okay, these sections of the music are like stages, like each of the pieces of that whirlwind of emotion that accompanies the passing of a friend, well articulated and lain out. It made sense to me at that point.

'Sea of Wisdom' is worth mentioning too, especially in conjunction with the continuous theme of the Phantom Tollbooth throughout the album. There's sort of a laid back vibe for most of the song, complete with some good imagery all relating to the water. The lyrics give a sense of security to the listener, like they're trying to get the message across that knowledge is continuous and flowing, like water, but not threatening nor hard to find. There's also a great bass line starting about a minute in that only picks up as the tempo changes into something faster for maybe more than a minute at the close.

I began to notice while I was listening to this album is that the McLovins' structural style to their music is a lot like that of Phish, but in more of a subtle way. There are a few different parts or interludes to their music, which became apparent when listening to 'Dynne', the sixth song on the album. There's a lot going on in this song... Good things. Like how the guitar will switch from some serious shredding to a chill vibe on the drop of a dime. That's talent.

'Rhyme & Reason' is an ode to the aforementioned mythical princesses. The song is almost cut into two different vibes. The first is very laid back, and lots of mellifluous lyric choices. The second part is severely reminiscent of the Phish's 'Sparkle,' a very upbeat ditty.

So. Personal interpretation: the first part of the song is for the Princess of Reason, and the second half is for Rhyme. Knowing the book quite well, Reason is the one of the two sisters who needs to be persuaded into something. She is logical. The final picture of the first half of the song is a beautiful image all around, lyrics, licks, everything. There are words. Persuasions.

A swift drumbeat introduces us to the second part, our tribute to Rhyme. From what I can recall she is the crazier sister, the one who will spring for anything if it sounds like a good time, which fits perfectly for the upbeat guitar. The two sisters balance each other, not unlike the two segments of the song.

And, of course, there's 'Conundrum', Jazzy, a real standout. I venture to assert that it's much more intricate than most of the other songs on the album. There's the element of having multiple repeated parts throughout the song that makes it seem much more refined. I especially love the bassline about two and a half minutes in. (I'm a sucker for the bass.. Mike Gordon fall tour!)

Everyone knows how I love the ukalale. Heck, I posted four videos of Jake Shimabukuro in one entry! I couldn't resist... So upon hearing 'Please Refund These Sleeping Pills,' I instantly dubbed it a favorite. Although it is more of a bonus track, it's definitely worth a listen (or a few!). We have a pleasant surprise with a switch on the vocals from Jake to Jason, and an interesting combo with a rhythm acoustic guitar with ukalale. It always puts a smile on my face.

In fact I like it so much, here's another ukalale video for you all:

Consider this the Elizabeth stamp of approval.