Friday, March 19, 2010

Review: Built By Snow - "Mega"

Fans of nerdy fuzz rock, take note: The next several paragraphs are written just for you. For while the peppy but placid brand of indie Built by Snow manufactures is something just about anyone should be able to tolerate, the keyboard-driven, major-scaled, Pacman-referencing Mega will find a special place among the college radio fiends of the music consuming population.

Mega is catchy and concise, dropping just nine tracks (two of them instrumental or virtually instrumental) in the 20 minutes of disc space it inhabits. The nerdery is taken to all new levels on songs like the buzzing, whirling “Algometric Touch” and commercially appealing “Invaders” as vocalist JP encourages: “Let’s take on gravity / Put rockets on our feet / And explode somewhere over the sea.” The energetic cutesiness runs parallel to a somehow less punk version of Hellogoodbye with the geek rock appeal of They Might Be Giants. Leaning heavily on the Moog and Korg, BBS crafts clean, comforting melodies like the 8-bit-Start-Screen-sounding “Implode Alright” and smile-inducing “Science of Love.”

Sure, some of the song subjects and lyrics can be a little cringe-worthy once you figure out how BBS is playing into their own stereotype, but most won’t view it as cynically. The two instrumental songs that bookend the album (EP?) also seem like kind of a waste, though the opener “Giant Robot Attack” isn’t quite as insipid as the 90% instrumental “Attachment.”

Built by Snow go the proverbial extra mile to appeal to the nerdy masses on Mega. If you can stomach that sort of an effort, there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy the whimsical numbers that make up this CD.

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