Stirred, Not Shaken
The debut album from No Regular Play, a duo founded by New Yorkers Greg Paulus and Nick DeBruyn, is the kind of thing that is meant to be played in slinky martini lounges – chillout music for the chillwave set. It’s hardly challenging; it is, in fact, a very nice album to listen to. Ultimately, too nice. While some tracks deviate from each other, the whole 11-song cycle that is Endangered Species winds up sounding an awful lot alike, and it could be argued that this record is in need of a serious haircut. If you lobbed off two or three songs, you’d have a much more reasonably compact album that hits the sweet spot a bit more rather than lingers on and on. (The whole LP runs a rather lengthy 52 minutes.)
That’s not to say that there isn’t affecting material to be found on Endangered Species. It actually starts off quite well with some nice horn work on “Birdfeathers” that makes it sound very Broken Social Scene-like (if BSS had any overt electronica tendencies) and “Won’t Quit” is the nicest stab of electro-funk I’ve heard since Spoon’s “I Turn My Camera On”. However, the general low-key and dubby vibe continues on from there and it isn’t until the sixth track “Kickback”, which features some smooth hip-hop rapping from the Real Live Show, that things truly change up a little bit. There’s an awful lot of repetition on Endangered Species, and not just in the lyric loops. It just sails out to sea without making much of an impact. I’d say that Endangered Species isn’t a bad record, but it never aspires to be anything more than background music that you can enjoy with a drink in hand. The album is thus one that you have to be in a laid-back mood to really enjoy, and if this band doesn’t want to become endangered itself, it might want to include a few more rave-ups in their repertoire to make things truly interesting rather than a homogeneous blob of trance-y relax music.