Although sometimes offered as proof of the Elephant 6 conglomerate's incestuous willingness to release anything by someone under their umbrella of psychedelic pop, Andy Gonzalez and his Marshmallow Coast really deserve better. Had they been known as simply another band in the Elephant 6 continuum and not just a band who happens to have nearly the same lineup as Of Montreal, albums like Ride the Lightning would have an easier time getting the respect due to them. That aside, Gonzalez is becoming an incredibly charming and tuneful songwriter, even if he doesn't really have the voice to carry it all off convincingly (of course, that never stopped similar talents like Jonathan Richman). A quirky, if not downright goofy, songwriter, Gonzalez spreads songs about ghosts and reading the newspaper around piano instrumentals and startlingly good acoustic guitar suites. Even more impressive are tracks like "Jebodiah's Restraints," which suggest that Gonzalez has learned a thing or two from watching Of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes craft his gloriously twisted melodies, as he emerges with a similarly impressive ear for complex pop songwriting. Overall, an album that establishes Gonzalez as more than a supporting player in the Elephant 6 canon.
Ride the Lightning Review
by Matt Fink