In the world of music there are two categories of bands: those who do, and those who do well. If you’re fortunate enough to belong in the camp of Lindby musicians, you fall into the latter category. On “Erikson”, the Arlington, Texas group’s first proper release, the eclectic amalgamation of forgotten genres seems tongue-in-cheek conceptually, but is executed in earnest. You can tell that these folks have been perusing the vinyl collections at resale record shops, and they have chosen their influences wisely.
The music of “Erikson” is jammed out in funky psychedelics and Lounge-pop with hints of Ska and the ever-present influences of The Flaming Lips and The Polyphonic Spree (one can even hear a little ELO in there at times!). For those of you unfamiliar with any of the genres or groups I’ve just mentioned, you should go look all of these things up immediately. If you do understand what I’m saying here, then you may have found an album worth the trouble of listening to. It’s pretty obvious that the Lindby folk have undergone some musical training, what with the Fugue near the end of the album and the multi-layered harmonies throughout the disc. That’s not to say that this album feels like homework, or the listening material of a grad student working on neo-classical pop rock; it’s more like those days in high school where your substitute teacher told you to stop reading Great Expectations and instead expounded on the genius of Ginsberg.
Lindby’s rhyme-scheme-rants are somehow familiar, like Shel Silverstein’s poetry, without the impending doom feeling. Like taunts in the schoolyard where children rhymed “dork” with “pork” and somehow made you feel like the worst kind of nerdy bacon, in the best possible way. When one hears simple rhyme-schemes found on “Erikson”, they may initially right the lyrics off and focus on the musical integrity – but as you go, you find that the rhymes are so brilliant because of their simplicity. It’s a return to the days when people didn’t craft lyrics with the intent of cerebral ambiguity, with the intent of being deemed a brilliantly damaged poet in a time of posers. Lindby says to hell with that and instead gives the listener the opportunity to sing along with the chorus after only hearing it once. It’s simplification at its best, and a tactic more bands probably ought to be looking into these days.
While a concept album, “Erikson” doesn’t follow the trajectory of storyline concept albums. Even though songs are loosely tied together, there is no story arc, there is no fundamentally flawed protagonist with a challenge to meet; instead there are loads of fun melodies and group vocals brought together by one name: Erikson. One can also tell that this concept album was created as much for the band as for the fans. There are inside jokes, and one can visualize the smiles of the members as they sing songs about friends and sneak looks at each other on stage as lyrics are improvised. “Erikson” is conceptual without being lofty; a panoramic shot feel-good landscape. If you feel that the album leaves something to be desired, that’s really more on you than Lindby, as they’ve provided you with an overview of what music has, and will sound like as genres continue to blend. These people know how they want to world to sound: cheery and sparkly, where everyone gets to have a good time, and everyone shares the name “Erikson”.
A few favorite tracks: “Jing Ling Tam Blues”, “King of Condiments”, “Gee! Sharp Diminished Over Bee”
Key elements: crunchy guitars, moog, group vocals, jazz piano
Check out Lindby at: http://www.lindbymusic.com
Or grab a record at any of their upcoming shows!