Nothing induces self-doubt quite like jazzy, experimental music. The abundance of musical proficiency, coupled with the lack of accessibility, tends to leave the listener saying: "This sounds like shit! Is it shit, or am I too stupid to understand it? Is my whole life just a lie?!" Enter Bablicon, Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes and his somewhat- demented posse, to prove to the world that bizarre, psychedelic jazz can still be offbeat, accessible, and more fun than an orchestra hit.
Within the first moments of In a Different City, it becomes clear that Bablicon's music will be all but impossible to lump into any particular genre. Soprano sax spits pure treble, thumping rock bass rumbles like the San Andreas Fault, and Jeremy Barnes' manic barrage of drummery beats you into rhythmic submission. The elements combine to create a sound both artful and agreeable. Whether grooving on an ever-repeating bassline ("Francis Locrius") or going off on an improvisational tangent ("The Green Line"), Bablicon toss almost Koufaxian curveballs, throwing the unexpected your way at the last second.
Even with all the stylish improvisation, unconventional sounds, and throbbing bass guitar, the single most riveting aspect of Bablicon's sound remains Barnes' drumming. Barnes doesn't play the drums-- he assaults them. But despite their wealth of musical expertise, Bablicon never succumbs to pretentiousness. From the communal yelps and hollers of "At the Birthday Party" to what sounds like a distorted theremin on "Rhinoceros," these guys never take themselves too seriously. The result is some of the most fun, generally wacky music that could ever be labeled "experimental." Imagine a 15-foot tall yeti, with 18 drumstick-brandishing arms, a soprano sax in its mouth, and huge feet crushing every pretentious jazz musician in its path.
1. The Green Line
2. Agustus Syphilus
3. Blue Line, Pt. 2
4. * ; ! : -
5. Francis Locrius
6. Chunks of Syrup Amidst Plain Yoghurt
7. At the Birthday Party
8. Pictor's Metamorphoses
11. 2 Birds (1 Wing)
12. Oodles of Noodles
CD: Jewel case with full lyric booklet