It’s time to take off your dancing shoes and put on your thinking caps. Saul Conrad’s newest album, The Fancy, is a chamber-pop head trip, filled to the brim with oddball tricks — key changes, nonsensical rhythmic shifts, overlapping melodies — that don’t get taught in music school.
“We tried to make songs that don’t depend on the closed structure of a traditional pop or rock composition,” says Conrad, a classically-trained pianist who grew up studying Mozart and Wagner. “They were intended to have space for multiple perspectives and voices, and were improvised out of themes that develop and change the way they do in sonatas. Like dialogue recorded in Cassavetes and Altman films, voices overlap mirroring actual conversation: sometimes responding to each other, other times clashing and talking over one another. A studio full of musicians — some with classical, and others with rock and jazz backgrounds — confronted this material, and their unique responses were layered until the song felt alive.”
The result? An album that evokes everything from Brian Wilson’s druggy, Smile-era pop orchestrations to Joan of Arc’s disjointed, dissonant indie-rock. Turn on, tune in, and drop out.
The Fancy is due September 17th on Mountain of Leopards Records.