Most things are microwaveable

Language-Arts - Where Were You in the Wild?
Language-Arts‘ 2007 debut, the bafflingly-titled “”, was a mixed bag. A stylistic hodgepodge that ranged from folk to hip-hop to jazz, it contained one song that stood clearly out above the rest: “Running at Sunset in a Moonlit Town” was haunting chamber pop, its droning guitars and electric piano flourishes more effective than any amount of kitschy genre-mashing.

The band appears to have followed the blueprint of that song when crafting its second album, and the result is a much more consistent and enjoyable effort. Where Were You In the Wild? is eerie mood-piece, featuring more strings and synthy atmospherics than its predecessor. Frontwoman Kristen Cudmore retreats behind a layer of reverb, placing a greater emphasis on melody in both her singing and guitar playing. This is most apparent on “White Socks in Birkenstocks,” which places hummable guitar leads and a wordless vocal hook over a purring bed of keyboards and cello.

Despite this newfound focus, the band hasn’t completely abandoned its genre-hopping ways. Cudmore raps on the woozy “Grandfather of the Buffalo,” while the title track veers between a steadily chugging chorus and jazzy, syncopated verses. And the lyrics are just as whimsical as they were on the debut; opening track “Cavity” begins with the line “Did you know most things are microwaveable? / Have a fine time on the frontier dunging out the stable.” This time around, however, the quirkiness serves to offset the chilly atmospherics, and rarely comes off as cloying.

mp3: “Where Were You in the Wild?”

“Wild” it definitely isn’t, but Where Were You in the Wild? is a confident step forward for Language-Arts.
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