A delightful clamor
Hot on the heels of a self-titled album in 2009, the Brooklyn-based indie pop eight-piece known as Rubblebucket (formerly Rubblebucket Orchestra) has released an odds and sods EP that plays like a patchwork quilt of the various strands of their keyboard-heavy afrobeat sound. With the Triangular Daisies EP, you get two new tracks recorded in the studio, another new track played live, a remix of one of those songs, another remix of a song that originally appeared on their sophomore album and—here’s a curveball for you—a Beatles cover. The diversity of material here offers a widescreen view of what this band is capable of. Though the extended play is generally good, it is something of a mixed bag.
The key highlight is the bright, punchy, horn-led “Came Out of a Lady”, which is a little like Vampire Weekend with a sax and trombone section. This is quickly followed, however, by a remix of the song which slows down the beat and casts it as a slick, modern-day Europop track in the vein of M83. Listeners will vary as to whether or not its inclusion is truly necessary. Also a bit of a head-scratcher is Rubblebucket’s cover of “Michelle”. While I would award points for audacity, and I can appreciate the band wanting to try something new with the track, the drooping McCartney song doesn’t really work with a technological sheen. Vocalist Annakalmia Traver has trouble fitting the words into the tight envelope the band gives her. And yet, despite these oddities and missteps, this EP shows that Rubblebucket have a unique thumbprint, even if it’s not distinct enough to ward off comparisons to the dance punk of fellow New Yorkers the Rapture. For the curious, this EP is a sampler of the group’s peppy antics. For fans, this is a teaser and clearing house of ideas that should tide you over to the next album.
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