Thank You, Uncle Tom

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Thank You, Uncle Tom is an eccentric debut from a multi-ethnic, multi-language, multi-genre outfit that doesn't have a clear agenda. From the band's baffling appropriation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's title to its peculiar fetishization of the earlobe on the album's closer, Caramelize exhibits a dedication to shattering one expectation after another. Fortunately, they do so in a highly listenable manner. By turns calling to mind the knowing insouciance of the Breeders, the charmingly catty vindictiveness of Veruca Salt, and the pointed awareness and vocal closeness of Betty, Caramelize creates an intriguing if occasionally bewildering debut, one only marred by the awkward "The Caramel Eyes Song," a misshapen rap that tries too hard to deliver a message. Album highlight "Enfermedad" (Disease) includes a line that translates to "And without justifications I'll walk on by": a perfectly apt summation of the self-assured band's artistic modus operandi on this frequently fun if scattered record.

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