Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe
Stately named band, Illinois aren't actually from the Midwest at all, oddly enough, they're from Buck County, Pennsylvania. Despite the geographic disparity and confusion, this group has slowly managed to make a name for itself using the internet, social networking, and creating a sense of urgency and importance by releasing several chapters of it's new album, The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe one at a time. The buzz generated by slowly letting bits and bobs of their album worked wonders as several songs were charted and the anticipation of the actual album built to a fever pitch. With it's release in both physical and digital formats only one question remains, is the record actually any good?
The short answer to the question is yes. Now for the long answer...Combining a strange amalgamation of sounds and a ramshackle bunch of influences glued together Illinois create pop with a bit of adventure. Take a bit of Ian Brown, a bunch of Cake, throw in some Pavement, some Of Montreal, the Decemberists and a smattering of electronics and you've got where Illinois are coming from. With that laundry list in mind, The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe is an album that pivots between electronics and acoustic instrumentation as if they were on a light switch. The band simply turn their influences on and off and which ever way they choose is the direction their tunes head off in.
The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe is filled with slacker sounds and downtempo beats that makes for a lazy enterprise. The surprising thing about all this is that despite it's lackadaisical approach and epic length, the record never gets lost or boring along the way. Illinois do a fantastic job of writing songs that are alluring and mesmerizing without losing the plot or a sense of tunefulness. It could have been very easy for the band to get distracted and lose focus, but Illinois never do, instead their songs are filled with wonder and they charm you with a quirky sense of musicality and a strong pop sensibility.
Illinois have written a fantastically varied and ingenious record that's exciting, creative and a blast to listen to. From the broken honkey tonk banjo of, "Old Saloon," to the off setting beats of, "Big Country," The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe is an adventure into a world where songs with huge melodies rule the world and where all kinds of instrumentation intermix to form one giant musical family that live in a constant state of harmony. It's a kind of utopia and whether you're a musician or not, who wouldn't want to be part of that?