What do you see when someone says Blonde Afro? I keep visualizing that one ambiguously gay teacher with the blonde Afro and the mustache from Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? I'm pretty sure that's the cartoon but I'm not about to scour Google images to back up my imagination. Can you grow an Afro? I highly recommend it, there's just something cool about rocking a small mountain of hair. Troubleshoot The Moon is sort of like an Afro. There is so much going on that the songs eventually make up this weird blend of folk, funk and ragtime that sounds how an Afro looks.
I'm not even sure how to properly begin this review; obviously what you just read was me buying time. The time signatures are all over the place, which is weirdly compatible with Rick McAlister's (aka Blonde Afro) stunted vocals. Like, he doesn't miss any syllables or stutter, but each syllable is delivered with rough singularity, as if exactly one breath is allotted for exactly one sound, and that sound better be part of the word you intended to say, unless it's monosyllabic. The music, too, has this weird stop-and-go quality. Each instrument shyly makes itself known and when you've gotten comfortable with it than it hides beneath the primary sound in the song.
Take the spastic drumming and jazzy brass parts of the opener "The Weekend," with what sounds like a quick finger-run over a Casio keyboard. Wild rhythms contrast tight harmonies, and by the song's end everything you thought was a bad idea makes sense. Lyrically, this is fun as hell, as McAlister walks the line between personal anecdote and playful observation. He can stay out all night until the sun comes up and the cows come home, discuss people farting and he's totally over both you and religion.
I suppose jazz is the genre McAlister is most comfortable with. The compositions certainly aren't standard rock numbers. The brass, the miniature crescendos but mostly the lilting stops and pockets of silence best evidence this. People who are comfortable with musical comparisons, you're on your own: Blonde Afro has to be heard, not read about.
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