Little Joe Gould / Murder by Death

Like the Exorcist, But More Breakdancing

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    5
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Though its artwork suggests some long-lost effort from Rachel's, the zany titles of Little Joe Gould's second effort seem to mark it sonically in the vein of Atom & His Package or MC Paul Barman. Nothing could be further from the reality. Instead, LJG's lineup includes piano and cello on top of the normal emo/post-hardcore compliment of guitars, bass, and heady drumming. Over top, vocalist Adam Turla rambles on in faux-dramatic non sequiturs. Hints of chamber pop, southern Gothic, and post-rock linger here and there, blending into a sound that's certainly unique, but still somewhat bland. Cuts like "I'm Afraid of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and "Flamencos #*!$in Easy" lurch easily between references as disparate as Radiohead, Tom Waits, and Thursday, and the instrumental makeup always ensures an interesting sound. However, this might be a gateway album for Little Joe Gould, since they can't quite get their varying styles and pieces to coalesce. The album is consistently quirky and obtuse, but only occasionally memorable. Highlights include the atmospheric dirge "Those Who Left," with its melancholy piano and bizarre sound effects echoing in the distance, and the spare "Caucus Race," which drifts toward Texas and the work of Centro-Matic.

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