Written by Maria Arroyo
I should start off by saying that they found a formula that works well for their sound and for what they want to accomplish, and they continue to do that through the course of the release. It’s defining for them, but sometimes leaves far too little to speak on, that I wouldn’t have already covered for a previous song. Their self-described “shimmering” opener, “Dream Parade,” is a short and fun psychedelic-sounding track that kicks things right off, right into their next song, “Over Way Too Soon.”
“Gary of the Academy” is the first song that highlights their collaborations with other musicians. The infectious horn section is brought by musicians, Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor) and Jeremy Good. The larger-than-life sound that they bring to the table with the addition of the horns is amazingly blended with their alternative and psychedelic sound. Their easy follow-along creation makes it easy to feel like you already know the song, giving it a huge advantage in being remembered in listeners’ heads.
Bringing more of a focus into a more diverse melodic contour and shape to their release is “Before and After.” There’s a lot more movement in terms of the song structure and the way the instrumentation sets the stage. It feels like there is more context behind the song, which is also true in their next track, “Melt Into Air.” It feels like structurally, there’s less of a linear, and more creative approach that actually enhances the direction for the song. It tells a more disciplined story that made it feel as if there was a point to the song.
Another song that highlights that same idea is “It’s Over Now.” While I appreciate their switch to a more structured creation, the biggest problem throughout lies in how little the vocals are brought to the front of the mix. The vocals are supposed to be a lot more present than the rest of the tracks than what they actually accomplished. It’s almost muffled behind the wash of sounds and doesn’t distinct itself from the rest of the mix, which is unfortunate.
Their closing titled track, “After School Special” has a lead-in from the prior song that brings some interesting harmonies to the surface that actually deviate from their original sound. For a closing track, I don’t know if it made a ton of sense. I feel it’s supposed to more-so wrap everything up in a familiar bow to feel like we’ve come full circle, but it’s like a new path was started, so there was no real sense of resolution. Maybe moving the tracks around in a different order could have helped this, since I did like the overall sound of this single. In conclusion, Lunchbox did create their own subset of genre, so I admire their ability to forge their own path as musicians.
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