|There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere is the second album from Head Like A Kite, the name Dave Einmo uses for his electro-pop-rock outfit. Following in the footsteps laid by 2006’s Random Portraits Of The Home Movie, Einmo employs returning musicians Graig Markel, Darius Minwalla, Barry Shaw, Asya Smoosh, Taryn Webber and producer/mixer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Chin Up Chin Up, Iron and Wine). Only this time around he includes even more guests and a wider assortment of instruments and styles to bring his beatbox-based electronic rock sound collages to life.|
Built as a pastiche of instruments, manipulated samples, indie-rock beats and pop melodies on top of genre hopping electronica hybrid styles, and taking cues from the quipping beats of LCD Soundsystem, the gauzy electronics of Pinback, the syrupy melodies of Her Space Holiday and the slacker pop that Beck cut his teeth on, the 13 tracks here are smooth and cool bits of electro-pop-rock. I call them bits because Head Like A Kite squeeze the 13 tracks into just 36 minutes and most are a patchwork of concise riffs that are at first hip, catchy and endearing, but over time reveal a slight excess of repetition which diminishes their appeal somewhat.
Although not as hyper as LCD Soundsystem, not as subdued as Her Space Holiday or Melodium, and not as commercially viable as Beck, there are enough interesting ideas, styles and influences appearing on this endeavor that Head Like A Kite use for color, texture and substance to create their own sonic identity. For example, “Daydream Vacation” tones down the electronica and turns up the indie-rock with expressive keyboard/electric guitar interplay to go along with Asya Smoosh’s charming vocals. “Before We Go To Bed” is a slick, electro-cool cut that sounds like an upbeat outtake from Air’s Moon Safari, “Six Bags Of Confetti” is an engaging electro-pop mixture of the Cars and the Stones and “No Ordinary Caveman” combines the trip-hop sounds of the Sneaker Pimps with the rolling electronic percussive beats and swirling electro-effects of Pinback and is the album’s standout track.
But while each track has it’s own personality and is a unique blend of electronica, pop and rock, there are a handful that are too repetitive within themselves. Like a fistful of good ideas that never develop into great designs. So while they’re playing, they’re perfectly fine, but they never stick you with a desire to hear them multiple times. “We Were So Entangled”, for example, uses purring beats and thrashing rhythms to create an industrial/dance hybrid that is halfway between both while a few samples and electronic sound effects swirl around a repeating chorus. It’s a fairly nifty sounding song but stops before it evolves into anything else. Such is the case with a few of the other tracks, only with modified ingredients. “Everybody Should Be A Costume Party” gets a little funky, “Listen Young Stunners” contains buzzing beats and vocoderized vocals and not much else. “Letting It Go On The Ohio Turnpike” fiddles around with some simple synthesizer pumps over a glitchy backdrop.
Thankfully though, Head Like A Kite know when to cut their losses, keeping the tracks short enough and packing them with an eclectic selection of found sounds, samples and effects. So instead of becoming a stagnant listen, you’re left with a decent auditory excursion... - Delusions Of Adequacy