The Pool Noodles is a duo from the Bay Area. Their identities are shrouded in anonymity, only going by the names Blue Pool Noodle (lead & harmony vocals/mouth noises/ukulele) and Green Pool Noodle (production/sax/misc. instruments/vocal). I thought the fun names really seemed to show us the band's playful side, as a lot of the stuff on their latest album Luminous Canopy includes a mixture of sounds from live sax, clarinet, pots and pans, a fax machine, synths and the sounds of a party as background noise. The band members really give us a glimpse of their eccentric and eclectic vision on this 13-track collection. A mix of pop, electronic and jazz, the band layers into their sound a lot of weird and strange noises and it is their oddball effect that really makes them stand apart from their peers. None of the sounds feel out of place here as The Pool Noodles pack into their music a varied and all-encompassing sound, and somehow make it all work.
Luminous Canopy opens up with “Song (Part 1)” where what sounds like xylophones and shooting flares of electronic riffs sound out. The vibe created sounds that are very alien-like and other-worldly. Gradually, synths pound into the recording, adding a lasting ambiance. Weird and wonky sounds erupt here on “Smoothest Stances.” Next, the vocals come in. The sound of bongos provides an adequate backdrop to what sounds like spoken word vocals. The music is strange with a slightly oddball feel. There was a tasteful jazz segment on the keys that I thought really added a nice flavorful touch to the piece overall. Some bouncy beats shoot out from “Leafless.” The smooth and soulful vocals send out a very soothing appeal. I really enjoyed the vocal harmonies. The island flavors in this track made this a highlight. Some steel drums add to these tropical flavors. A sax solo also adds to the vibes.
Wonky bass lines settle into the groove on “Tasty.” Next, some funk-induced vocals light up the sounds. The hilarious lyrical content points to the band’s more fun-loving side. Another sax solo sounds out for another jam-fest. There was a whole lot of whimsy to this quirky song. A piano melody enters that meanders for a bit on “The Man Like A Nest Of Spiders.” The piano tune builds, becoming more intricate in vibe. This is solely an instrumental piece. Some wailing synths faire out on the start of “Mycelium Wires.” It produces a sense of dissonance to the overall vibes. Next, the ambiance changes up for a more minimalistic approach with just beats and vocals. Then the music becomes more embellished with more glitch-y electronic flourishes. The auto-tuned vocals offered a very robotic vibe.
“Birth Of The Fax” starts off with vocals. The keys slowly then join in. The background vocal harmonies provided a lush backdrop that I enjoyed. The sound of retro keys really seemed to liven up the atmosphere as you can hear in the background the sounds of a fax machine working. On “Slipping,” the sounds of a ukulele embrace a very island flair. Once the flavorful vocals come in, you can really feel the music coming together. This felt like a warm beach-y affair that had a really nice groove to it. I liked the way the singer was able to flex his vocal chords and give audiences a sense of his range. Next, the track changes up for a more dance feel. The band alternates between its sparse ukulele sound to more radioactive rhythms in a heartbeat. Percolating beats add to the vibes here as synths also struts in on “Dance In Oblivion.” This song felt very electric in mode. As the vocals come in starkly, you can feel the mood and emotions coalescing in the backdrop. This track heavily leans on the band’s electronic side. The band closes the album with this heavy dance jam.
Over a span of three years, the album was recorded in various apartments, bedrooms and parental living rooms around the Bay Area. Since this was a bedroom recording, it is only natural that a certain amount of lo-fi-ness finds its way into the album. Yet this didn’t seem to deter the course of any of these songs in any way. There was also a certain wild abandon and spontaneity to this recording that felt like the band was jamming out to some jazz. The way the music felt free of constraints as well as upholding more solid structures that is found in classical music, the band is able to tackle all this and more. There is also a touch of electro-pop in the music as The Pool Noodles hail the arrival of many significant synth-wave movements within their sound. The band has certainly produced something of note with Luminous Canopy. It looks like the band is only getting started and I look forward to hearing more music like this soon.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook