Roughly 270 miles due south of Portland Oregon sits the city of Medford, home to Sean Siders, Grayson Phelps, and Andrew Backus known collectively as Bora Bora, the three piece indie world music fusion group whose first self-titled EP is an eclectic and well thought out mess of genres including world music, folk, dance, electronica, pop, and indie rock.
The Bora Bora EP opens with “Flee Thy Muster” a whimsical and xylophonic-led ditty that pumps with excitement from the get go. Jazzy guitar loops and electronic samples swoop and dive sparrows amid eruptions of handclaps and Japanese operatic elements. Suddenly the song builds into a frightening fugue of noise before stopping momentarily and turning into something akin to a child’s first performance in a talent show before returning to its jazzy guitars and psychic electronic from whence it came.
Next up is the funky fresh and fun “Lacuna Bridge” which takes its cues from songs on Paul Simon’s island-imbued classic Graceland. Sean Siders sings the opening lines of “Lacuna Bridge” in the South African language of Afrikaans, imbuing them with a lovely poetry in his borderline falsetto “Beweging is die lewe/Alles wat dra ons siele/En darrs ons harte” which translates to “Motion is life/ All that wears on our souls/ and there's our hearts.” As it progresses “Lacuna Bridge” like its predecessor takes on many shapes and forms in terms of tempo and instrumentation.
The next island inspired tune is wildly upbeat strange “Banshee Nouveau” which with its odd transitions asks quite a bit from its listeners. It is here that one wants to say “The jig is up,” for as epic as the construction would seem to be the song meanders a bit too much and the harsh and slowed down vocals alert us to the “man behind the curtain” whom we are supposed to ignore. By this time even the dance pop closer “Emerge” is so swollen with the same shtick that one simply yawns.
The Bora Bora EP is a fun and vivacious record that mixes multiple genres and does it pretty well. However after a time one notices it lacks the true versatility of its predecessors (Paul Simon via Vampire Weekend) who have famously enough made the genre dangerous territory for anyone to tread, no matter what. Overall Bora Bora EP is a fun record full of catchy tunes, but like everything in life should be taken in moderation.
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