UK group The Bubble Project will rot the pearly whites right out of your chunky gray and gooey pinks. The band’s The Technicolor Dream Machine appears to be a concept album about an unknown being traveling around a galaxy fit for a 1950s B-movie in search of love, which finds finality with a proposal to Astro Girl (the seemingly infinite “Will You Marry Me Astro Girl?”) Along the way, our protagonist encounters scientists, Mr X, Planet Thunderfuck and more, to varying titular and jocular results.
Channeling The Flaming Lips, surf rock and garage punk, The Bubble Project wrestles its rickety spaceship through uneven songs and fading glimmers of hope on this sometimes catchy/ mostly annoying album.
Four men comprise The Bubble Project, and each adds his signature to the sound. Synthesized fuzzy lasers swoop in and out of the mix, while real and machined drums keep a steady beat. Nothing here is half-baked. Upon first listen, however, The Technicolor Dream Machine hammers the ears with grating melodies and painful vocals. But the element that remains most unbearable are the voices, both how they’re singing and what they’re singing about. Almost all the vocal melodies feature harmonies, which wouldn’t be all that bad until you hear the skyrocketing falsetto of “Wouldn’t wanna be ‘em!” (or something along those lines) in “The Spectacle of Magic Dan.” It will grow a bit on listeners, but this took multiple forced hearings and more than a few aborted missions for yours truly. I suppose it’s the sign of a timeless pop song to be stuck in your head all day, but little flourishes like that made me feel like a postman on Let Your Dog Out Without a Leash Day. The Bubble Project’s The Technicolor Dream Machine reminds me of children: sticky, irritating, and you’re relieved when you get to give them back to their parents after babysitting.