Art and Music goes for a finely crafted art pop album on the highly evocative “Who are They”. Over the course of “Who are They” Art and Music tap into the joy of 90s college rock like Archers of Loaf. The spaced-out quality oftentimes feels reminiscent of the band Of Montreal, with Kasey Jones voice being a dead ringer for Kevin Barnes’ vocal stylings. Done with the greatest of care and compassion, a great optimism rests at the very heart of the matter. Lyricism reveals a true knack for storytelling, as the dreamy delivery further gives it an otherworldly aura to it.
The tenderness of the album belies his recent newfound status as a father. As a new father myself, I notice the kindness, and the cadence used throughout. By letting every single piece work as a suite to a greater symphony, the album best taken in as a whole. Very easy to get lost in the rich detail, Kasey Jones and J. Thorston craft an intricate series of narratives, of the happiness that goes unnoticed in the world. Melodically rich, every single element of the sound feels truly inviting, life-affirming even.
Giddy energy introduces the album with the hyperactivity of “Do You Even Love Me”. Virtually shouted from the rooftops, the track defines itself with a strong sense of longing. Nicely embodying what a crush on someone entails, there is a great fervent spirit to it. Things mellow out with the timeless sound of “Pain Erased” where Art and Music deftly avoid easy categorization. A highly ornate arrangement incorporates so many different instruments that figuring them all out becomes part of the fun.
Minimalism reigns supreme on the highly intricate “The Window”. Piano resonates deeply, with the arrangement recalling the Beatles’ fondness for merging poetry and melody. Deserving to be blasted “Loose Change” nicely embraces the power of distortion, as the guitar work has a perfectly fuzzed-out quality to it. Fantastic with its tremendous buildup, the aptly named “Grow” simply stuns as it comes into full bloom. By far the highlight of the album the piece lingers in the mind long after it is over.
“839” embraces the surreal. Woozy organ that recalls an acid-fried 60s pop relic, Art and Music embark on a grand journey throughout the piece. Layer upon layer filter into the mix until it becomes a fully immersive experience. Effortlessly bringing the whole of the album to a close the colossal athletics of “Altruistic Suicide” veers wildly courtesy of the unhinged rhythm.
On “Who are They” Art and Music present a brilliant, bold, and beautiful world.