Friday, February 24, 2012

BITCH Magazine Review of Darling Specimens!

Zoe is a real person with human parents, but it's tempting to imagine her springing from the pen of Astrid Lindgren. From a childhood spent vagabonding between the United States and Canada with her family (sporting red galoshes regardless of the weather) to the resourceful use of feedback loops when musical collaborators aren't in town, she has carved out an entirely unique space and sound, and may be Oakland's answer to Bjork. Like the former Sugarcube, Boekbinder is an unusual first listen, but let the sound warm in your headphones and you'll find some perfectly caramelized pop nudgers.

At first listen, Darling Specimens' eclecticism threatens to take over: I kept expecting Tiny Tim to leap out of the closet. But Boekbinder's lyrics are witty, and some of the arrangements are little feats of architecture. The looped vocals, finger-snap percussion, and cash-register dings of "Seven Times" are cushioned and undergirded with keyboards.

Boekbinder's inventive production made me lose my own personal game of "Stop--hey! What's that sound?" again and again. The theremin-like "oohs" and "woos" backing Boekbinder singing about stretching intestines into strings to wrap around "Hollow Bones"? Turns out it was a saw. The oom'pahs and beeps that sounded like synthesizers? A brassy trio of trumpet, trombone, and tuba. Add Boekbinder's triply vibrato vocals and clever lyrical slant, and you've got a mighty rich gumbo to digest.

DON'T LISTEN IN BED - Your action figures will throw a dance party and you'll step on them in the morning. You've been warned.

- Heather Seggel - BITCH Magazine

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