I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t expect this exquisite pop album, Blabber n Smoke, from this band, the Harvey Girls. Sure, I thought it’d be fun to listen to, what with eight songs creatively titled (see “The Monk and the Bug,” “Green Light (In Your Heavy Metal Mind)”). However, within 30 seconds of listening to album opener “Good Morning, Bubblegum,” a single thought crossed through my mind: this is good. Experimental lo-fi pop isn’t something that conjures up images of grinning listeners, but this is exactly what is the result of one spin of Blabber n Smoke.
While the Girls showcased a knack for creative use of noise on their last EP, this time around they’ve done grown-up and are, like all good artists, evolving. “All Your Water’s Turned to Rope” is twisted in all the right ways, from strange alien-like percussive noises to sampled honky-tonk piano and strange lyrics: “There’s a dog on the roof she exclaimed / and he’s barking at us I thought / cos’ she bought the New York Dolls when she was 12 / and she’s hated junkies ever since.” “Good Night, Moon” is a gorgeous instrumental with cadence-like drums and a distant-sounding harmonica beneath acoustic guitar.
If you’re looking for something interesting and different, you need look no further. Fans of the Microphones will find snippets of influence here (“Quiet Lion”), and fans of the Scissor Sisters will find redemption in the synths sprinkled throughout. For fans of music not quite electric and not quite pop, here you go. You’ll be more than satisfied when you hear the trombone kick in on “For Sheila Behman.”