Little Green Cars :: Absolute Zero
There is a kind of bliss in stumbling on new music by happenstance, a happy accident, one might say, or a musical “meet cute”. I had one of those today when I caught a glimpse of this album cover above and clicked on it to give it a spin. This album is lyrically cathartic and musically mercurial. As I listen I find myself being yanked and pulled in different directions, emotionally, and I have to say I am enjoying the carnival ride. The five-part harmonies of Dublin’s Little Green Cars are already being clustered up with the likes of The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons and First Aid Kit, but I hear something different when I listen, I hear some kind of fusing between Fleetwood Mac, Polyphonic Spree, The Flaming Lips and Band of Horses, and something completely different, something completely their own. Produced by Markus Dravs, who has worked with the likes of Bjork and Arcade Fire, the album is a stellar debut, one that is complex, different, and enormously listenable. This is not a quick one-night fling kind of album, this is the kind you have to play over and again, taking time and care with it, letting the songs sink deep beneath your skin. This is a long-term relationship kind of album, it requires some commitment, demands it even, and damn it is worth it.
I keep going back and forth, and a little bit upside down, over what my initial first favorite is. Part of me is cheering on the last track, Goodbye Blue Monday, for its soothing, lullaby-like sounds and vocals akin to Conor Oberst. I have had a rough week so far with work stress and a death in the family of a close friend, added to this that my insomnia is back in full force that this song is a very welcome relief. It feels gentle and feathery, like a soft touch on the shoulder, or a cool breeze through a half-open window on a warm Spring evening. I have a recent love for last tracks and this one is a thing of beauty.
I am also rather fond of The Consequences of Not Sleeping, not just because I am living among that kind of consequential reality, but because it is heartfelt, bittersweet, and so very endearing. This is one of those love songs that I tend to cling to, tuck into playlists meant to convey confessed crushes and longings, and memorize “by heart” from all the repeated playing, and singing-a-long. I want to slip it in-between Band of Horses’ No One’s Gonna Love You and Death Cab For Cutie’s I Will Follow You Into the Dark.
The Kitchen Floor is a dark and moody number, the initial introductory notes calling to mind early Cat Power. Faye O’Rourke has a breathtaking voice full of 60’s California Laurel Canyon sensibilities, as if she studied in the gardens with Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills and Nash. This is such a lush song, lilting and lovely.
Angel Owl is clamoring to be one of my favorites, as well. There is something in the sound that takes me back to music I loved and lived in during a Summer in the very early 90’s. It reminds me of afternoons lying on the floor of my bedroom next to the boy I was taken with at the time. We would lie there, side-by-side, touching hands, letting the music wash over us until we became overcome by feeling and attraction, winding up wrapped up in each other, bodies intertwined, still there on the floor, the music still playing around and through us. This would have been a song we would have loved, and insisted on adding to our afternoons of delight.
John Wayne is the “single” sound of the album, and it is the song that I listen to, and can hear where the Mumford and Sons comparison came from. It is actually the song that has (so far) had the least impact on me, but that could change, given a few more listens.
Overall, I am quite taken by Absolute Zero, an album that I know is going to continue to grow on me, slowly, intimately, in that forever kind of way. What an intriguing first album, and what a wonderful surprise to stumble upon today.
Goodbye Blue Monday (live) :: Little Green Cars
Consequences of Not Sleeping (live) :: Little Green Cars
John Wayne :: Little Green Cars