by Janet Goodman
“The pencil shavings / The sourballs / The paperclip dispenser / They cheer me up / I know they’re always there / I know they won’t desert me,” sings frontman Don Rauf of New York City-area band Life In A Blender on irresistible, 70s funk punk “Shards,” from their latest EP “We Already Have Birds That Sing.” With a David Byrne bravado he paints a detailed lyric landscape of the bits and pieces of our lives, and he delivers like a revered stage actor whose vocals are overlooked. Rauf writes all seven songs on this Fang Records release recorded in Catskill, New York, produced by Kenny Siegal along with the band.
LIAB has a long-standing attraction to the unconventional, and with this their eighth recording, they do not stray. Kitschy burlesque “Tongue-Cut Sparrow” with its playful horn section is about a stripper following her calling, and the gentleman’s club is revisited in “Mamanama,” this time with an energetic vibe that’s more Kinks hoedown under the influence.
In indie pop “Falmouth,” Rauf uses floral imagery to convey hopefulness, then in “Frankenstein Cannot Be Stopped,” he skillfully uses flowers to turn an emotional 180, this time haunted by Boris Karloff’s floating daisies scene in the classic horror film. In punk rocker “Good Answer” he juxtaposes an annoying refrain with a classy string- section hook to emphasize his cultural commentary: “Atom Bomb/James Bond/Freedom fries/Snorting bath salts.” With bohemian tastes in melodies and storylines, the band’s conventionally reined-in song structure and generous rhyming keep them from slipping beyond endearingly quirky. This is serious music on the edge of fun.
Visit the band’s website www.lifeinablender.net
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