The Bundles – The Bundles (K Records 2010)

Superhero team-ups are always exciting, especially when it’s Spider-man and Daredevil or Spider-man and Wolverine- one tender and sarcastic and the other tender and vitriolic with moments of introspection. The Bundles – Jeffrey Lewis, Kimya Dawson and players – is anti-folks ultimate Marvel superhero team-up. Having played together on this Lower East Williamsbrooklyn scene we all only have a vague vagerie about for years, they’ve now got together and bashed out 9 odd songs in 2 days. And what an energetic wonder they are too. First of all, Jack’s on bass. We love Jack, he plays in his brother Jeff’s band always, suffering an endless roster of name-changes. He’s ace. Karl Blau, another antifolker is there, and he’s pretty good too, though he can sing a bit too well for the scenestery scene they all find themselves in.

So- decamped to Washington, with the aid of a 40-strong choir, it’s meaty fun, energy-filled stuff. Jeff has swapped his wry narrative for repeated phrases, often funny, often sweet, turning his refrains into an instrumental bed for Kimya to sing over. They interchange well and there’s a good feel to the songs that these two lyrical stalwarts would have been… well, more lyrical on in their solo efforts. They feel like a band of musicians here and sing choruses, repeat them, allow solos. There’s a complete abandon and a strict rigour on display here and it seems they all compliment each other well. It just sounds like they’re all having an amazing time and luckily we’re invited as the battered acoustic guitars ring out and the boxy drum-thumps pound like a makeshift child’s kit. The only misstep is the ‘ironic’ Shamrock Glamrock, which gets lost in sillier-than-thou electronics, but the pumping fire of songs like Pirates Declare War and Metal Mouth explode in a crescendo of lo-fi crashing cymbals and bashed guitar strums. It’s ace, loose, fun, summery, louche, sweet, funny, beautiful music made by lo-fidelity masters.

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Filed under journal, nerds I wish I was

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