Slumber Party's aptly-titled third album 3 was one of those little releases that came out of nowhere and really caught me by surprise. It was a breath of fresh air as the group seemed to draw inspiration from sources as varied as 50s rock and modern indie rock in creating an infectious album that has only grown in my ears with time.
Musik is the newest release from the group, and in addition to some changes in their lineup, the group experiments with quite a few different sounds on the release, making for a rather frustrating listen. Given the title and some odd textural sounds and a newfound use of electronic elements, it seems that the touchpoints for this release might be vocal-based Brian Eno work and maybe even some mid-era Bowie, but the results come across as half-baked and not nearly as enjoyable as past output from the group, despite some interesting production from Dion Fischer and Warn Defever.
After the decent opening instrumental of "10-9-8-7-6-5-4," the album glides into the droning "Thin Is Wide," where some aimless guitar work slides up against warbling synths, a programmed beat that doesn't really add anything to the track, and some detached vocals. The hokey electronic-touched country bounce of "So Sick" almost pulls things off with atmospheric, layered choruses, but the track feels so disjointed that it's hard to really get into. "Boys/Girls" is an even worse offender, with bland old school drum machine beats providing a clunky backbone to obvious melodies and some of the worst vocals the group has ever contributed to tape.
In places, like on the amazing "Becuz," the group seems to touch on what made their past work so great, as some great guitar work is juxtaposed with breathy vocals and some subtle organ work. "Late Night" is another winner, sounding like an old sock-hop track updated for the modern age with a fine layer of fuzz on the guitars, a playful synth melody, and a pop construction that pulls everything together tight. On a good portion of the release, though, the group sounds a bit uncomfortable with their new directions and instead sounds like they're forcing things. A perfect example of such is on the seemingly self-sabotaged "Madeupmind," where grating high end electronics detract from what could otherwise be a great track. As a whole, Musik is one of those releases that's just a bit mystifying. I can sorta hear what the group was trying to do, but the end result doesn't always succeed.