Think Like A Key 2023

Sooo Extra

Spreading Miami Beach’s warmth across the world, a forest dreamer reflects on reality in flux.

For years the cover artwork of this collective’s albums have seemed too simple or too puzzling to be truly evocative, and perhaps it took the band to cast a glance into not so distant past on "On The Sidelines" to feel inspired enough to make their next step result in puzzling simplicity of both images and sounds that the songs on “Sooo Extra” ooze in oodles. Or in riddles – because puns rule the game here, as the very bubble gracing the platter’s sleeve suggests the players put loads of pop in their rock, and not for nothing the final piece on offer is titled “It’s Always Been There” – bringing home sweet psychedelia pushed in motion by opener “Hit The Wall” to gain elegant momentum and stay. Stay the way all haunting melodies should.

But then, opener “Hit The Wall” fuels what will become a spectral – meaning both ghostly and multicolored – vibe further on via a series of infectiously insistent riffs shot through with a wobbly synthesizer’s wave, before Roger Houdaille’s vocals burst into bright harmonies on the chorus and his guitar passages start soaring to prepare the listener for the punchy ’60s-influenced fuzziness of “Photograph” whose selfie-like images hint at this record having emerged as the ensemble’s leader’s solo effort. That’s why the faux-mariachi, reflective if vigorous, “Extra” goes, “the band is extra, we got none tonight” – and sees its sparkling strum remove the flawed romance of “Real Bad Bunny” and “Booster Club” where pseudo-silly lyrics are spanked by, respectively, elastic bass and handclaps, to set the scene for the irresistible, raga-scented electric sting of “Improbably Probable” and the spaced-out uplift of “Atlantic Columbia” which struts slightly subdued orchestral grandeur.

Of course, in such circumstances “Scalers Blues” manages to subvert its genre signifier almost until the number’s end, exposing thoughtful mirth in the main tune and in the finely woven undercurrents, while “Short On The Wire” ebbs and flows with much gusto and allure, and “Send Nudes” spins a mirror ball with a lot of jangly panache. Here’s the wonder of “Sooo Extra”: no amount of hooks on display should come across as redundant, and in that regards the album is immaculate.


May 2, 2024

Category(s): Reviews
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