Wednesday, September 17, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Samuel Boat “Soda Pop Rock”

            My first constant loop of a question when I saw the title of this cassette comes from the term “soda pop”, which is a character name in “The Outsiders”, sure, but in some places it is called “soda”, in other places “pop” and somewhere they even just call anything “Coke”, so how does “soda pop” work?  I mean, yeah, I’ve heard it said before, but shouldn’t it be one or the other but not both?

            Don’t contemplate that for too long though because we have some music to experience here.   We begin with these sort of higher pitched vocals and then come in some horns but not in a ska way and then the first song ends with these Breakfast Club type of tones.   What you need to figure out within this one is that it has all the qualities of your pop rock type of cassette but with extras.

            Names like Ben Kweller and The Rocket Summer come out right away, though there are also elements of that crazy pop vibe that borders on psychedelic you might find in something like The Polyphonic Spree.  Some of these songs are instrumental; some have words that are being sung about stuff.   It can be catchy and there can be a lot of distortion (even in the vocals) and the second side even begins with clapping as if it was done live.

            There are just these non-traditional sounds and I’m not sure whether it’s a setting on an effects type of keyboard or a different number of specific instruments making them, but they just aren’t the type of thing you would find in a pure pop rock song (The Rocket Summer comes back to mind), but in terms of being added I wouldn’t say that they take away or enhance the music any less than a human hand does the rest of the body.

            For me, if this was just another pop rock type of cassette it would be a damn good one.   The fact that it seemingly takes that notion though and expands upon it in this way just makes it that much better.   It’s not like Samuel Boat is making pop rock and then just adding car horns or something on top of it at random—it all fits together and just gels so incredibly well and that’s what I like about it perhaps the most.  

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