What do we want out of music? Simplicity? Complexity? Profound sentiments and melody? If you’re like me you never really ask for anything, and when something like The Ladybug Transisitor’s Can’t Wait Another Day pops up you’re free to appreciate it for what it is.
If this is the approach of a pop geek then I can take it, I’m definitely one, and in an artistic world increasingly driven by market trends and hollow hedonism something like this can blow me apart. Brooklyn’s The Ladybug Transistor have been knocking around since the mid 90s, and have grown into a retinue of musicians that have spouted around them on the Marlborough Farms/Elefant 6 scene in the finest pop tradition.
Can’t Wait Another Day features contributions from members of Aislers Set, The Clientele, Architecture in Helsinki, Great Lakes and Jens Lekman, yet essentially and maybe miraculously it retains a definite individual direction, Olson leading from the front with a dulcet baritone voice and quaint ear for the orchestral flourish, forever encouraging his friends to new heights.
Can’t Wait Another Day floats from optimistic melodic numbers like opener Always On the Telephone to its downbeat and teary title track, the sounds sprouting off in all kinds of directions in between and teeming with disparate flavours, each one sitting with a perverse sense of ease. Inspired quirks come through the seams of songs to subtly push them to new heights, most memorably the country guitar that swishes through Always on the Telephone, making it sound like a dusty old Highwaymen classic, and the jazzy piano which drives Three Days From Now on in a heavenly retro fashion.
If I’m not mistaken there’s a whiff of Lekman to Three Days From Now, wilfully, rebelliously stylish and etching new Pop constellations out of the apparently obsolete, and Jens’ unmistakeable touch can also be heard in I’m Not Mad Enough, his lunatic-brilliant use of long-forgotten keyboard sounds assimilated in a song that sways with a smattering of soothing orchestral nous.
A feminine touch also runs through Can’t Wait Another Day, the voice of violinist Julia Rydholm often joining Olson and adding another layer of empathetic allure, and it’s all heroically underplayed from start to finish, forty minutes of Pop in its most beguilingly classical, sparklingly emotional form. It won’t win any awards, just the hearts of anyone with a smattering of purity.