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Flotation Toy Warning

When the Boat Comes Inside Your House / A Season Underground

(Talitres, Shellshock; US: 25 Apr 2011; UK: 2 May 2011)

It’s been a long time since 2004’s The Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck, the excellent debut from London’s Flotation Toy Warning. Now, this two-song single serves as a primer for their upcoming second record, The Machine That Made Us, and for any fans of the first record, this is a welcome return. These two songs deliver the same expansive, moody psych-pop and maintain the band’s indescribably weird aesthetic—steady percussion warped by haunting layers of voice, Paul Carter’s warbling croon up front, and layers of keys, loops, and guitars that’ll drive you mad and pull you back in for another listen. Each track, though, shows a clearer focus than we’ve seen before, the compositions somehow both more controlled and as expansive as ever. “When the Boat is Inside Your House” is particularly impressive, moving from a stately incantation to a murky pop bounce that twists around Carter’s fascinatingly downtrodden voice. A lot of people missed The Bluffer’s Guide, but if these two songs hint at what’s to come on the sophomore record, it’s unlikely The Machine That Made Us will fly under the radar in the same way.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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