Everything is Subliminal means a lot
A choral escapade engulfing chiming guitars over half-time drums, Everything is Subliminal by The World Palestine (Les Easterby) opens like daydreams on a warm summer afternoon.
A quick change of pace lands album opener, "Let Everything Flow," into a prancing piano and a vocal hook as Easterby sings, "Free.. let everything go... feeling tired... free... let everything flow… getting higher," followed by an ascending synth warble. Another abrupt change in feeling, with distorted guitars and quarter-time drumming, this record will be a great listen for those with a short attention span.
Horns have rarely been heard over the course of Easterby's career, but "G-Fruit Juice" opens with them. Though a long history with musical experimentation in And Academy and previous projects, horns can be found on AIDS (And Academy) and Let's See Star B, a release that will be repressed by the same label dropping Everything is Subliminal, Air House Records.
Easterby had this to say about Everything is Subliminal as a response to Let's See Star B, "With this album, I was semi consciously trying to top what I did with Let's See Star B — its still different, and I try not to compare stuff, but I was hoping to make something just as strong."
The floating, ambien like drift of the track "Fred Rogers a.k.a. Pong Ping on a Flower Bed" is perhaps the heart of this July 28 release.
Easterby said, "'Fred Rogers' is truly an homage to what an amazing person he is. Replace the words 'Fred Rogers' with 'your father' and that's what it was originally."
Often masking his vulnerability, Easterby continues, "I try not to get too obviously emotional with this stuff. A lot of it means a lot to me, but to the average person might come across as random garbage."
Statements like that may be the cause for the tangential nature of Easterby's sonic constructions. Whole, structurally sound, pop songs are often blunted by the musings of a dreamer curious to see what lies behind this or that sonic exploration. As a kind of sonic collage that incorporates many odd time signatures, key changes, synthesizer effects, each new track sounds as if the band (all instruments except horns where performed by Easterby) started in the middle of the song.
Influenced by absurdist blues-rock outfit Captain Beefheart, '90s rock/punk redefiners, Nirvana and the Beatles, Easterby ties these sometimes-tangled song structures together with vocal melodies seemingly culled from Brian Wilson's — of Beach Boys fame — best B-side performances.
Ultimately writing these works for release and live performance, Easterby had this to say about the audience he's really writing these songs for, "Some stuff just amuses me. I'm really trying to entertain myself first and foremost. Of course it feels good when other people enjoy it and get something out of it, but more than anything, I'm pretty self-indulgent, and that's what making music is about to me..make yourself happy."
Much of the turns and chances taken of Everything is Subliminal are blissful and performed as such. A kind of elated reference to the rock band outfit but told through an experimental pop composer, these works are often dense with vocal harmonies layered over drums, bass, distorted guitars and synthesizer leads. A rich Tapestry that makes for great repeated listens in the pursuit of missed melodies and finding the sense in the awkward compositional transitions.
Be at the release party July 30 at Barleycorns for your chance to get a copy and see the new performing trio Easterby has asked to join the antics. The performing, trio consisting of Alec Jahn and Weston Townsley, will perform with their band, Fairness. Also on the bill are Travel Guide and Future Horse. Get there early!