On a literary bender to blend new themes into their multicolored narrative, NYC band find glee in a turmoil.
A quarter of a century down the starting line, the brightness of any artistic idea can fade out, yet this troupe wouldn’t show any signs of creative fatigue in any circumstances. Even though a few songs on their ninth album were written for Bushwick Book Club, one must suspect prose and drama inform but a small part of Don Rauf’s songs whose sources should be quite bountiful and whose stylistic diversity versifies with his annual variety show, The Blowhole Theater. All of it is entertainment, of course, albeit there’s wisdom rubbing shoulders with a smile on the pop-rock likes of “Happy Enough” – the record’s title track – where electric ripples reveal immense depth under a celebratory tune that picks up the pace before the piece’s finale to let guitars win the race for joy, and not for nothing the last number is “Winner Takes All”: a triumphant, upbeat serenade which won’t let a single sensual note go unnoticed into silence.
From a stumble of the infectious “Trust” to the ELO-esque strings of “Underneath The Banyan” and beyond, instrumental twang is as cinematic as lyrics suggest, and it takes the seductive anthem “Submarine” to fathom the ensemble’s imagination. Still, the heavy squeal rearing its head in the equally catchy “Let The Baby Cry” should keep the listener on their toes which are in danger of getting trampled under constant rhythmic shifts or even of getting bombed under the straight-faced jangle of “Rocket To Love You” – and such threats dissolve only when ska and klezmer blend to open “Umbrella” for a heavenly polyphony and sweet boom in the vocal department. If that’s not enough to cause vertigo, there’s “Tiger Pudding” to pack the blues into a pub singalong and mad bark and bring home the very essence of the album’s title, with the theatrical “What Did You Hide In The Potato Barn?” hinting at more humorous tragedies buried in the band’s minds. Quite a reason to be happy.