THROW ME THE STATUE > Creaturesque

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Creaturesque

THROW ME THE STATUE

Creaturesque

(SECRETLY CANADIAN)

[Rating: 3 stars]

What limited spotlight Throw Me the Statue may have deservedly caught for their debut Moonbeams last year may be all but lost with their follow-up Creaturesque. It might could have been foreseen judging from the Purpleface EP that hit earlier this year, which was intended to pave the way for their follow-up, but only muddled their sound with an unexpectedly bland batch of four songs. That could have been chalked up a lark, if one were to consider it as little more than a catch-all for those tracks that didn’t quite fit the flow of the already bulky, 15-track Moonbeams. But it seems Creaturesque is very nearly an extension of that misstep as it drifts through impish, ether-light songs one after another from dance-rock jaunts (“Ancestors,” “Hi-Fi Goon”) to hazy digi-pop (“Snowshoes,” “Pistols”). It’s not that this is a particularly flavorless album by any stretch, but it continuously plays to the band’s soft spots while glossing over their individuality. Even recruiting sought-after producer Phil Ek (The Shins, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes) to lay his hands on the album seems uncomfortably like a ploy for indie cred, or, at the very least, a creative crutch to lend the album that extra coating of commercial-ready finish. After all, it was leading man Scott Reitherman’s clunky bedroom production that gave Moonbeams its unlooked-for, awkward sincerity. It was both meticulously self-aware as it romped through garage-sale Casio blips and quixotic electro-pop, and yet unwittingly, charmingly garish as layers of synth buzz and cutesy wordplay clashed into a bright, multi-toned clutter. In Ek’s hands, however, Creaturesque loses its jagged edges, favoring silvered chimes and mellifluous brass accents over rewarding, if more problematic, turns. As is, only Reitherman’s nearly monochrome vocals are left to tend to the hooks, or passively evoke what should be gritty emotions that lie beneath the songs’ breezy drones and drum machine patters. It’s a shame that the album doesn’t play to TMTS’s tested strengths, not simply because they were drastically ignored the first time around, but because one can’t help but wonder what Creaturesque might have been had it been given the same due attention as its predecessor. Here’s hoping another Rhapsody advert spot or the like can tide over their already waning audience long enough for them to get it right next time around.

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