The Blow - Paper Television
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The Blow
Paper Television

Khaela Maricich has been sort of a fixture of the upper Northwest music scene for some time now. She's sang with The Microphones and has released music under the name Get The Hell Out Of The Way Of The Volcano. Eventually, she switched her name to The Blow, and last year Jona Bechtolt teamed up with the same name, changing up and expanding their sound slightly, into something deliriously dance pop, yet just enough off-kilter that you're not going to mistake it for something mainstream.

Paper Television is the newest album from the group and it's a continuation of what you might expect from the duo if you've heard their previous work together. There's a little dash of glitchy hip-hop flavorings, some straight-up electronic dance pop, almost doo wop vocal stylings, and a touch of electro. With ten tracks running just over a half hour in length, it's about as lean as you can get.

The album starts with a handfull of tracks that are easily some of the best work the group has done to date. "Pile Of Gold" is a two-minute slab of stark and stabby electro-funk with goofy lyrics and some seriously hooky vocals by Maricich. "Parentheses" is the track that swerves with a bit of the aforementioned doo wop feel as sampled live drums clomp around and the track veers between downtempo verses and full-on dancey choruses.

From there, the album goes all over the place. "Long List Of Girls" merges ratatat snares, some krunk bass, and wonked-out soulfull vocals into something that almost works, while "Bonjour Jeune Fille" finds Maricich singing in both French and English over a blippy disco-house track that sounds like Stereo Total at their best. Their attempt at dropping things back to ballad-esque levels results in one of the best tracks of the release (minus some cringe-worthy lyrics) in "Babay (Eat A Critter, Feel Its Wrath)" as Maricich weaves her best vocal stylings of the entire release over it all. When the group is at their best, they rival the sheer playful joy and goofy dance pop energy of The Postal Service, but at other times their musical change-ups just don't quite work. If you enjoy inventive electronic pop (that definitely shows off a silly side), you'll probably eat this up like candy.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2006-10-26 20:29:08