This band is almost impossible to categorize—and, for the record, that’s a good thing. With its members possessing perfect pop and indie rock pedigrees that includes previous work with the Moles and Helium, the band forges ahead and pushes the boundaries of guitar pop on their second album.
The opening track, “U.G.L.Y./Blue Funnel World,” is a discordant instrumental that provides clues to the album’s meandering exploration. Meanwhile, “My Mind Is Still Gone And I’m Not Even Fried” recalls “Blue Monday”-era New Order minus the synthesizers. It speaks well for the group’s accomplished musical chops and instincts that they are able to wring strong hooks out of nontraditional chord progressions and the occasional atonal melody. And just when you think Blue Funnel World is walking the purely experimental route, you get a couple of songs with the jangle-popiness of R.E.M. and Game Theory (“Home With Me Tonight” and “Labotomy” among others). Recorded as a personal response to Brian Eno’s Another Green World and drawing from more contemporary influences like Red House Painters, Blue Funnel World is an adventurous release that avoids all traces of the sophomore slump.