Tuesday, March 16, 2010

review: Look Mexico - To Bed To Battle

Look Mexico
To Bed To Battle
Suburban Home, 2010

Not bigger, not badder, but Tallahassee's Look Mexico is different. Gone are most of the pretenses of light math-rock and obvious instrumental dueling; in are clever modern rock ballads with even a few alt-country hints.
What stays are the funny song names, like "They Offered Me A Deal (I Said No, Naturally) and "Take It Upstairs, Einstein."

Look Mexico "You Stay. I Go. No Following." from Look Mexico HD on Vimeo.

All of this made me think of the lighter aspects of an emo band like Braid or the near dead-on mainstream interpretation of This Town Needs Guns or perhaps the dirtier version of White Rabbits and Tapes and Tapes. Or maybe I just described The Weakerthans. I think I did.

After the
Gasp Asp EP, I expected more straight-ahead pop-punk-rock, but Look Mexico doesn't deliver that, instead choosing thoughtfulness more than any classifiable genre.

Take that Einstein song. "Am I the witty update on your screen?" is a nice line poked into a ballad with a recognizable, repeatable melody that kowtows more to...what? It's a good and powerful song, it's not a Look Mexico song, more apt for a side project.

This is an unusual play for more fans, obviously their ambitions go more than any light punk ghetto-ization would allow. Problem is I like this album and I like Look Mexico. "I Live My Life a Quarter Mile At A Time" reels in moody modern rock with a punch to the familiar, "Until The Lights Burn Out?" has this space freak out moment, and "They Offered Me A Deal..." may be the best pop-rock song ever written. The opener, "You Stay. I Go. No Following." is a perfectly played song, it arches and glides and peaks and I even want to sing along on the chorus. The requisite components for SUCCESS are there.

So I accept these rock songs for all their foibles, most of them stand better as single listening experiences than they do as a whole. Guess that doesn't matter, our existence is fragmented anyway, right?

Though with this record, I can't help but think of Look Mexico as appealing chameleons--and I'm sure their move to Austin, TX will not sort things out, but only add more to the mix.

This is a stab by Look Mexico at something somewhere, I'm just not sure the target has been set, the parameters established. Anything and everything is game, which may mean nothing will work. Or that anything has to work.

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