Road to Flight

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Trying to categorize Landspeedrecord! has always been a fool's chore. Their music traipses through angular indie rock, jerky new wave, emo, chaotic lo-fi, punk, and electronic rock without ever stopping off for very long in any of those styles. Enjoying the eclecticism, on the other hand, has never been a chore. And that has also never been more the case than on their third full-length. One of the album's titles, "How I Ruined My Life With an Overactive Imagination," is a good summing up of the band. Their kinetic imagination is nearly impossible to corral, and while Road to Flight is hyperactive, jumping all over the place like a Ritalin-popping kindergartner, it is their finest album, a work teeming with ideas and inventiveness. The music is artsy in a way that pop hadn't been since the heyday of Depeche Mode or Talking Heads and early-'80s new wave, but without descending into overarching pretension or emotional detachment. And the band's ventures into computer sequencing sets them apart from any like-minded artists, if any exist, and are universally outstanding hybrids of rock and electronica, far more idiosyncratic than the amalgams by artists like Fatboy Slim and the Prodigy and that the media scrambled to embrace. Songs such as "The Best Revenge," the schizophrenic "Morgantown," and the surreal bad dream of "Cameron Diazapam" even approach Aphex Twin, ยต-Ziq, and Autechre levels of freakishly modulated drum'n'bass. The attitude, though, is pure punk. They disparagingly steamroll over or parody everything from cock rock to the Internet to every manner of celebrity. Landspeedrecord! is way smarter than they want you to think, and Road to Flight is an extremely brainy record disguised as a brazen one. It is caustic, but it every bit as intelligent, and a whole lot of fun.

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