Noise & Rhythm revolves around Ryan Schumann who is the anchor behind this original, exuberant and absolutely fun project. Similar to Phil Elverum of The Microphones, Schumann brings in various people whenever he wants them to contribute to the album. His latest album entitled Pick Up Yourself is one of the best albums I have heard this year and sounds like a concoction of Animal Collective, Dan Deacon, and LCD Soundsystem to name a few. The songs here are experimental yet accessible, electronic yet extremely organic. He synthesizes sounds that are exciting, playful and large to create songs that are extremely fun to listen to as well as catchy. Schumann also excels at writing unique lyrics that don't feel contrived. I never felt myself cringing because he steers away from any clichés. One other thing that should be mentioned is that Schumann manages to create an album that feels cohesive and throughout but also is able to write very distinct songs. I was able to get through the whole album with ease, as I was excited to hear what was around the corner.
The album kicks off with possibly the best song on the album entitled “Pick Up Yourself” sounding a bit like Panda Bear vocally as well as musically. This song creates open environments that explode with optimism as well as well as self-reflection. The verse is delightfully infectious but just wait for the chorus. Oh man is it good. “Our Time in Russia” while not quite as strong as the first song is still no filler. Schumann’s vocals are a bit more buried in this song but the song explodes at times as if you were in the middle of a fireworks display. Synths scatter and zigzag back and forth as the drums provide even more energy. “Goodbye To My Daughters” contains a circus of different percussive elements in the verse but eventually give way to electric guitars sounding a bit like Sleigh Bells. “You Were Our Father” seemed to have direct inspiration from John Lennon’s “Mother.” Nonetheless it didn't sound like anything else on the album and it is a really good song. It sure ends differently though as it becomes a conglomeration of dissonance, strings bends and noise flare. Another clear highlight with inventive lyrics is “Election Day.” This song gets pretty intense and is a very visceral experience. The Baltic pace of Dorner Kebabs was fun as string and percussion provided a traditional feel. Schumann closes with “Franz Kafka” which sounds like a bunch of people playing in a room together. It’s an acoustic song full of strings and emotion.
This album has a lot to offer and was one of the nice surprises I had this year.Schumann created an exceptional album that I won’t be putting away anytime soon.
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