I wanted to like this album. I truly did. The Spores have built an impressive fan following in L.A., and by all accounts, they are dazzlingly original, from attitude to performance style.
The trouble is, though, they're just a bit...
too special. This coming from a guy whose biggest musical hook is a distinctive sound; I am all about standing out, and making bold musical choices, but this album is just a bit much.
        The first track, "Mandibles," was odd but likeable. I thought, OK, if aliens listen to electro-influenced popternative, they listen to Spores. It's creepy, synth-oriented dance music, with Slither-esque lyrics. Like I said, odd, but not necessarily bad.
        The sense of oddness deepened, however, without getting more compelling. Apparently, "(Don't) Kill Yourself" was a big hit on the SoCal indie scene or something, but I have trouble seeing how. First off, I would imagine that the Spores are too pop-sounding for indie, and too inaccessible for dance/pop. Secondly, it's a pretty song, instrumentally and vocally, but it's... just kind of empty of meaning. It comes off as either a demented, depressed song for angsty high-schoolers to connect to on a shallow level, or an ineffectual mockery of actual suicide. I say ineffectual, because even though the song supposedly makes you "feel like an idiot for even thinking about it," the song isn't particularly witty or deep. It's just kinda hip and catchy.
        'Hip and catchy' pretty much describes the album. It really is eclectic pop pitched at a hipster audience. It's got that bizarre randomness in theme and lyric that propels Cake, but without any of the credibility or conviction Cake has. Stylistically, it's pop sensibility for a demographic that won't listen to Bjork or Britney, satisfying that craving for dancey, electronic, vapid songs, if you happen to have that particular unfulfilled need.
        I have no such burning shameful desire, as it turns out. So while I will attest to the good qualities of this album, like the fairly awesome instrumentals (when the synth isn't on "Abuse"), especially frontwoman Molly McGuire's contribution on bass, the album nonetheless kind of washes over me. They're just too out there. Sorry mates. but it was always going to be hit or miss with mannequins performing alien indie pop, and this release just didn't do it for me. I can find things I like in most tracks, but on the whole, the album makes the Spores come across as Atari experimentalists who are trying too hard.
        Give it a listen, decide for yourselves. But after "Yum Yum", I'm pretty much done with the Spores.
A.F. '06
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Side Cho Records

1) Mandibles
<< 2) (Don't) Kill Yourself >>
3) Moon Shine Down
4) Heat Seeker
5) Imagine the Future
6) Love My Mind
7) Veal
8) Big Brother
9) Yum Yum
10) El Matador
11) Entwined Like Lovers
12) Daffodil
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