Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura

[We still have that ever-growing stack of music to write about, but we're letting another Romantic Air Recordings artist jump the queue because we've literally been waiting for this one since before Barack Obama was even running for the Senate.]

Detroit's brainy and baroque pop maestros, Pas/Cal released their debut full length LP I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura this week on Le Grand Magistery. The official release is even tighter, catchier, more live sounding, more technically ridiculous, more playful, delirious and gobsmackingly fun and smart than the rough version I previewed late last autumn.

Talk about delivering "the whole package." This album may be up there with Pulp's Different Class as an iconic work of sugar coated subversion. [If you have even a vague idea of what Different Class means to me, you know that's quite more than a compliment.]

A few quotes on the making of the record from the previous Richard Panic interview on Burnlab:

Doyle: Some of my favorite things about reading the band's blog are the very technical and quirky narratives about the recording process. One favorite is the story about the Ace-Tone organ, and the trick of turning it off while holding down a key to get just the right sound. LIstening to the album, it's evident that every sound is carefully considered and has a story behind it. What are some of the more unusual techniques and/or happy accidents that occurred during the process?

Panic: Yes, that is also one of my favorite aspects of this record. The techniques employed on this record were far from normal. The piano was abused, punched, and smashed to get sounds out of it. Old Frankenstein, hand built, guitar amps, pianos trying to be guitars, guitars that want to be organs and more microphones than the state of the union address. One story off the top of my head is the studios Rhodes piano. Several keys had missing tines. As a result, I always had to reconsider my arraignments. This would always pose a challenge and end up creating melodies and harmonies I would have never came up with if not for the obstacles of the randomly missing notes. Also see the answer to the Cherry question below.

Doyle: In an interview once, Casimer talked about the contrast of PAS/CAL's upbeat, "sunny" music and often dark, morose lyrics - in the tradition of The Smiths and Blur. I'm quite drawn to and appreciate this kind of deception. It gives people who listen a little deeper something to appreciate - like they're in a secret club. Is this strictly an aesthetic choice, or a very deliberate one?

Panic: Before I joined this band, I was impressed by the lyrics. Obviously the Smiths were an influence but for me personally Morrissey is something of a religion. It was Smiths lyrics that enlightened and informed me in so many ways. So such a comparison coming from me is really saying something. Caz's writing was the closest anybody I had ever met came to being as inspired as Moz. His lyrical content and stories are different but the essence is there. I love the wit, sarcasm, and slightly skewed perspectives. I read somewhere once that the typical Morrissey fan is a self loathing egomaniac. I think that is true of Pas/Cal and yes it is quite deliberate.

+ a little bonus bit of trivia/controversey(?) I just stumbled across:
Sean McCabe's cover art for Pas/Cal's last EP, Dear Sir appears to be a wink to a most unlikely source of inspiration. But you never know... and that's all part of the depth of wit which keeps listeners happily on their toes.

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