I made the worst mix tapes during my senior year of high school. No structure and no continuity at all. I’d pick 12 or 15 songs, throw them on Side A, repeat the process for Side B, and—bang!—mix tape. I’d have Hanson’s “MMMBop” sandwiched between a radio-friendly Green Day tune and some ridiculously lo-fi Japanese garage punk band. Terrible. I pull them out every once in awhile, throw them in and just laugh and laugh and laugh.
The thing is, I can’t turn them off. Embarrassing as they are, there’s no denying that these tapes were and are still wildly FUN. Ninety percent of the songs are about girls, they’re all way poppy and they all make you wanna get up and dance.
Rich Creamy Paint, the name of the band and debut album from 19-year old Rich Painter, is sort of like those mix tapes. On one song, Painter’s got the girl, and on the next one, he doesn’t. No consistency at all. But every song’s got the girl in it. One minute you’re listening to him shouting with glee about having the girl of his dreams, and the next minute you’re hearing a ballad about a girl that’ll never love him. And then on the next track she’s his again.
You keep looking around to make sure no one is going to catch you listening to this. It’s total pop fluff. The lyrics read like the writings of a guy who’s trying to rhyme way too hard. The song titles—“You’re a ‘10’,” “High School,” “A.D.D.,” “Hangin’ Out”—say it all. But at the same time, the thought of turning it off isn’t anywhere near crossing your mind. ‘Cause the fact is, no matter how high school Rich Creamy Paint is, every minute of it is totally fun.
There’s lots of simple punky chord progressions with new wave synthesizers added to the mix. A cute fake accent that you’ve used while singing along to the radio a million times. Funky bass lines that fill out the sound and make everything rock. Not that this stuff is poorly played, ‘cause Painter’s obviously a terrificly talented musician—he plays every instrument on here, and does so with considerable skill—but Rich Creamy Paint is never going to be compared to Revolver. Regardless, it sure as hell is going to make you smile.
It’d be really easy to pan an album like this. I’m sure plenty of magazines will. But the fact is, Rich Creamy Paint is fun, it flat out rocks, and Rich Painter knows good pop hooks as well as anyone. If you have any desire to turn on your stereo and smile, to play an album and have 38 minutes of fun, pick up Rich Creamy Paint. Lots about high school might’ve sucked, but pop like this is still fucking great.
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