The Busy Land of Shadows is the kind of record you would hear in an opium den that is also a preschool.
Portland’s Buzzyshyface serve up a tasty morsel of psychedelicfolkbootgazercloudstarerafternoonnap rock. (Yeah I made that up myself, so what.) Of course, when Jason Lytle, the brain behind Modesto California’s Grandaddy, is in the producer’s chair I wouldn’t expect anything less.
The Busy Land of Shadows is full of Jolly’s catchy pop hooks. Frank Black ain’t got shit on Herman. I only say that because I find myself humming guitar parts to myself like I do with Frank Black songs. Herman’s guitar parts drive the songs providing a mellow non-aggressive yet solid and reliable foundation for Megan to lyrically frolic over. Her lyrical prowess is displayed in her signature sing songy innocence that makes the delivery of such depressing lyrics like the ones in “So If Well” easy to listen to. The choice of soaking the vocals in reverb adds to the dreamy quality of this record almost as if Megan and her backing vocal tracks are whispering in your ear while Herman plays guitar for you, oh yeah, and you are high on opium.
“Pigeon Fix” lays out a great guitar line complete with a little retard in the turn around that keeps you on your toes. The conversation between the vocals carries on and makes you feel sort of like you are eves dropping on a beautifully psychedelic private conversation. “Negative Blues” is a self proclamation of being in a bad mood yet the soothing instrumentation and vocal melody hint at a silver lining or even a sense of familiarity and comfort in one’s bluer moments.
The uniqueness of “The Busy Land of Shadows” is more in the structure of the album as a whole. I’m not sure if they planned this, but the flow of this album is incredible. But wait, it’s just a guitar and some vocals, big hairy deally right? Wrong, these songs; this recording; this order posses a magical continuity we don’t often see in music. This album must be listened to in its entirety to really appreciate the arc of the songs. It is a perfect expression of Buzzyshyface: their aura, their being, their meaning, their trip… heavy man, now let me get a hit off that hookah.
Buy this record here.
Check for Buzzyshyface shows here.
Filed under: Album Reviews