Connect The Dots
[Rock Salt Songwriters (2010)]
The spirit of Connect the Dots is so cheerful and childlike that at first it can come off as a parody of indie pop: The melodies are simple, the subject matter includes dewy-eyed things like “Ladybugs” and “Peas” and “Jellybeans” (well, okay, the last is a nickname), the relationship songs are early-high-school-uncomplicated “I Want To Hold Your Hand” types, and the instrumentation includes a slew of toys. Glockenspielen abound. It sounds every bit as cute as you might expect from this description, but it’s nevertheless exactly the sort of musical escapism adults need a good dose of every now and then.
This is a pop album, so one can’t expect to delve too deeply into the lyrics, but Rabbit! (Devin Moore, Ashton Allen, Emma Jean Branch, and Yara) excels at maintaining interest throughout a 17-song disc by constant variation in the instrumentation, vocals, and songwriting styles. In a given song, you might get everything from a lone voice with toy piano to a full-on electronica beat backed by a dozen more conventional instruments. In particular, “Bump in the Night,” the last song on the disc, shows how wildly the band can swing between sparsity and intensity. There are plenty of more conventional pop tunes, like the title track and the aforementioned “Jellybean,” and no indie pop disc is complete without a male-female duet like “Now That I Found You.” The band does well with softer grooves, like the one in “Sun and Moon.” The opening track, “Magic,” calls to mind, of all things, Abba, if the Swedish pop group band had grown up thirty years later.
This is a breezy end-of-summer album filled with surprises that ought to satisfy not just fans of indie pop but anyone looking for an adventurous musical journey.
—Jon Patton (Baltimore, MD)
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