|Head Like a Kite’s second record There is Loud Laughter Everywhere has a peculiar edge to it. Instead of lead man Dave Einmo recruiting a band to play his songs, the way most acts with a frontman who sings and writes the songs chooses to work, Einmo has eschewed a steady line-up, instead doing almost everything on the record himself – except when he drafts one of his fourteen musician friends to drop anything from lap steel, koto, theremin or vocals onto a track. It makes sense, really. Einmo’s compositions are dance-rock jams, featuring a steady dose of synthesizer snippets, the odd sample here and there and repetitious, fat bass parts. In other words, it’s not the sort of music four guys or gals pound out in a garage; it’s the music of private sessions at an analog board at midnight, fueled less by a team determination than one person’s vision.|
But of course, that doesn’t mean Einmo can’t be generous, and part of this record’s appeal lies in the bevy of guests that this record features. We’ve got Barton Carroll, solo artist and Crooked Fingers contributor helping out with upright bass and lap steel, Graig Markel of New Sweet Breath adding vocals to two tracks, and a mélange of other Seattle musicians including string players Taryn Webber and Kendra Osterhout. It’s a nice locally based group of musicians that Einmo no doubt hand-picked to make this record all he wanted it to be, and there’s no doubt he’ll be performing on quite a few of these musician’s projects in the future - if only to return the favor.
Head Like a Kite vacillate quite frequently between harder-edged dance and a softer-souled rock, with the glossy production serving as a bridge between the two. “Everyday Should Be A Costume Party” is a slightly-slinky dance jam with a synthesizer tone straight out of 1992, or at least out of Beck’s Midnight Vultures. “Daydream Vacation” leaves behind the synth for a similarly bubbly (but much more moody) driving guitar line and the arresting vocals of guest Asya Smoosh. The bounce-back between styles doesn’t always work as well, and “Letting It Go On the Ohio Turnpike”’s Faint-lite groove will likely leave you cold and unhappily reminiscing about 2001. Speaking of reminiscent, there’s something oddly familiar about Einmo’s voice. Again, maybe something about Head Like a Kite is very Beck, but Einmo’s creeping, low tone is very akin to Mr. Hansen’s, and it’s nice to hear Smoosh and others give the record some vocal variety. Of everything on There is Loud Laughter Everywhere, “No Ordinary Caveman” is the most arresting, and features a bumpy vocal groove, a bevy of careful production wizardry, yet still manages not too pile it on too thick.
In the instance that you’re looking for Mush records to provide something drastic and new to rock-laced hip-hop, Head Like a Kite is not going to do it for you. Fun jams and catchy tracks aside, Einmo doesn’t break new ground here, even as he gets you sweating on the dance floor and bobbing along to his creations.