Monday, August 18, 2008

Starling Electric --- Clouded Staircase

Clouded Staircase, the newest (sort of) release by Ann Arbor darlings, Starling Electric came to me in my dreams the mail a month ago. It's a re-release of an album recorded two years ago, now to be released on Bar/None (on August 19th) who have released records by such bands as Of Montreal, Yo La Tengo, and Puffy Amiyumi. No lie. Check out their site.

While their re-released album has no hints of Puffy Amiyumi, I still felt the need to review it. When I got it in the mail, I tore open the packaging to see that singer/songwriter/mastermind Caleb Dillon left me a little note on a Post-It*. "PS I highly recommend getting naked before listening to this album." Well, goddamnit. I have a roommate, she wouldn't appreciate that. So I waited until she left for a weekend to get down to my skivvies and really take a good, hard listen at Clouded Staircase. A good, hard listen.

And I really did need to give this album a hard listen; it was a bit dense, very thick. Eighteen tracks, some are only a minute or two long, but it's still eighteen tracks long. That is a long time to stay in your undies. The first track of the album, St. Valentine's Day Massacre, is much more rock than most of the other tracks. Lyrically pensive, this track is an ode to a love that got lost in the folds of a lust-filled night.

It's imperative to note that "Camp-Fire" was featured on the under appreciated, yet awesome, TV series Veronica Mars. I find that other people might not fully appreciate this album because of it's very 60s/70s hippie vibe. Yet, it is a joyful voyage into a lush sound scape of an indie band on the fringe.

"Black Ghost/Black Girl" is a catchy little ditty with gorgeous harmonies. "Clouded Staircase (Part Two)" sends you floating in the breeze, high on life (maybe on some psychedelic druuuugs too), without a care in the world... Building up slowly, and then bringing you back down to the earth softly. And then there are some snaps and bah-bah-bahs. I'm starting to feel very comfortable sitting around in my undergarments at this point.

Oh, wait, it's starting to get romantical all up in this joint. "A Snowflake," so sensual and breathy. Oh my god. Oh. My. God. As I continue to delve deeper into this melodious beast of a record, I am beginning to get the feeling that Caleb Dillon attaches the same Post-It note to everyone he sends an album to. That sly fox.

I could not bare to review anymore of the tracks. Heartbroken, I wept through the rest of the album.

*I love getting Post-It notes from bands.


Annie said...

caleb attaches that note to everything. food orders, literary submissions, phone messages, job applications...

Elle said...

Post-Its on a phone message?! How does he do it!?