Album Reviews

EAR PWR – Super Animal Brothers III

(Carpark) UK release date: 22 June 2009

Super Animal Brothers III. The album title alone gives the game away: this is a record that explores the world of the 8-bit console. As soon as the album jumps into saccharine life it’s easy to imagine the band gulping down mushrooms whilst bouncing along to a ridiculously annoying tune. Mario has his own theme tune. You rather suspect that the members of EAR PWR have something similar.

And maybe Devin Booze (beats and synths), Sarah Reynolds (Japanese interpreter) and labelmate Dan Deacon (software engineer) have an other-worldly, toy-like quality to them. You want to meet them to see if they dress in ridiculously shiny and waterproof pastel rain macs. You want to lift up their hair and make sure it’s not made of some kind of vulcanised rubber. All the while knowing that Deacon’s head doesn’t have much hair to speak of.

See, EAR PWR make a very basic, very plastic kind of dance music. They are, without a doubt, influenced by the Japanese video game industry. They also seem to be influenced by quirky pop wonders Aqua, that song about Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut and sugar-soaked, ecstasy-fuelled house parties. It’s quite a mix.

The question is, can you really enjoy it? Is there something wrong with you when you find yourself liking the kind of music that kids dance to on the most hideous day-glo, parent replacement, soft-toy-selling programme that Nickleodeon can shit out of its marketing machine?

If you find yourself loving Super Animal Brothers III, it is possible that there may be a few wires loose upstairs. You may also find that any overindulgence in this album triggers a kind of longing for jelly that borders on the insane. It will pass. Once you’ve had the jelly.

The band apparently hates the term ‘childlike’ to describe their sound, and it’s easy to see why. There’s nothing childlike about it – this is the kind of twitchy stomping dance that gets people moving regardless of age. So whether you’re bouncing up and down on a bed, or dancing ironically in the kitchen at an incredibly cool party, EAR PWR do at least hit the mark.

As far as individual tracks go, lyrically there’s very little to really grasp hold of. There’s a bit about being a manatee and another moment where Reynolds says “Oh Jamz” in a way that sounds like a preserve-hungry Miss Moneypenny, but for the most part you’ll be concentrating on the beats and synths that repeatedly chuck out little nuggets of console genius.

So to recap, this is a rather catchy, rather clever slice of electronica that you could easily find yourself falling in love with. It is also the kind of album that you could hate yourself for buying because you get off on the kind of tunes the Tweenies find annoying. It’s ultimately about whether you enjoy a spot of fun now and again, and whether you have a headache. Nurse! The methadone and chuffing great bag of sugar, please.

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EAR PWR – Super Animal Brothers III