20 Minute Loop – Yawn + House = Explosion

20 Minute Loop
Yawn + House = Explosion

You’d be correct in assuming that peculiar lines like, “The Federals play a round of blackjack with my change” and “Passion is measured in Kelvin” sound more than a little random in their odd word choice. That’s because at least 10 words on every song (with the exception of a cover of Husker Du’s “I’ll Never Forget”) were haphazardly chosen from the dictionary and incorporated into the lyrics.

Wait, stop rolling your eyes. Ok, I know what you’re thinking: 20 Minute Loop must be some gimmicky novelty act that’s too reliant on thinking up quirky writing techniques than actually crafting quality songs. But you’re wrong. Many of these songs work as jubilant pieces of power, freak, punk (insert any other misnomer of an adjective here) pop, way better than you’d expect. And besides, who doesn’t love a clever gimmick – whether it be matching outfits or raiding the thesaurus — every once in a while.

When vocalists Greg Giles and Kelly Atkins aren’t thinking up ways to be self-consciously quirky, they’re off singing shiny two-part harmonies in a sugary, but not too sweet, style. The alternating boy-girl vocals are charming and rarely cloying. While comparisons to the Pixies or even X may seem apt, there is something indiscernibly different about 20 Minute Loop. Maybe it’s the wacky, dictionary-derived lyrics, or the fact that the dual vocal delivery resembles playful sibling bickering rather than the sexually charged rants of their influences. Whatever it is really doesn’t matter. This is a band that can be lighthearted and still have a somewhat punky, caustic bite, sort of the sonic equivalent of a rum and coke.

The best tracks on Yawn + House = Explosion are the ones that go all out in their giddy exuberance. The frenzied guitar on “It’s Time to Honor Ghouls” and the absolute standout “Properties of Dirt” are as explosive as they are infectious. It’s on the slower-paced tracks, in which the vocals tend to sound a bit more strained, that the album starts to lag, as it fails to live up to the band’s pop potential. Still, regardless of genre or gimmicks, 20 Minute Loop’s latest is an imaginative and inspired album from one of indie pop’s most offbeat offerings. Keep an eye on them and all their dictionary games.