Pop Music

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Pop Music has, at its heart, a gimmick. The main melodic instrument on the disc, played by Judy Dunaway, is the balloon. Dunaway uses it in a variety of ways to create myriad distinct sounds. It is almost unfortunate, though, that the band plays this up to the extent that it does. Without knowledge of what, precisely, is the causation of much of this noise, the record becomes vastly more interesting. And it does do a lot, ranging from cartoonishly birdlike caws to sounds akin to the bowing of strings. Much of the material (such as "Perevorot") tends towards the noisier end of things. Other tracks are gentler. The opening number, "Chromotom," is shockingly beautiful and perfectly rendered. Unfortunately, the rest of this disc doesn't live up to that standard. It has its moments, though. "Slow Blow" sounds as if it could have been created for a minimalist string quartet. "Feel Better, Doctor!," meanwhile, creates drones that sound almost like bagpipes. Ultimately, the disc is more adventurous than it is successful, and every track -- at the very least -- brings something new and exciting into the mix.