Like drag queens and, say, Hungarian free-jazz octets, [a]Super J Lounge[/a] are better when they don’t play it straight. For while the Arizona/Kent trio’s heart may warm itself by over-familiar dustbowl campfires, their head is clearly abuzz with the same grab-bag aesthetic that swells The Beta Band‘s tempestuous soul. But, unlike their emphatically catholic brethren, the Lounge, unfortunately, appear more interested in the dull mechanics of their sublime musical heritage than bathing in its rich life force.
The result is that much of this self-produced debut simply sounds like other, better, bands. Thus, stray coyotes yawn as slo-mo Will Oldham pastiche ‘Greetings’ pads through silent rooms, while the bubble and whir of ‘Day After Day’ suggests Galaxie 500‘s light-fingered legacy may have sired yet another ill-gotten tribute troupe. Still, when the trio shed the starched-collar affectations and make like proper pop alchemists, we find an impressive stash of bug-eyed inventiveness in ‘…Finally’‘s larder.
Top marks, particularly, go to ‘Intro’ – a rosy-cheeked instrumental that manages to incorporate cosmic whale noises and squealing space-rock guitar into its psychedelic broth without sounding even remotely precious or prog-rocky. A straight story, then. But one with enough kinks to keep the wolf from the door.