Without fail, whenever I walk down the streets of my town, or cruise past the windows of the malt shop while weaving through bodies on my trusty roller skates, I will invariably be flagged down by people earnestly asking me, with a desperate gleam in their eyes and stolen moist towelettes in their shirt pocket, “Dave, what do you think of the new Statistics record? Why won’t you tell me? For the love of me and this baby I’m carrying, won’t you tell me why? Please!!!”
Most of the time I just feel frightened and annoyed by this questioning, since until recently there hadn’t been a new Statistics album in over a year and a half. I would respond by just grabbing the poor fellow (it’s usually men) in front of me, and exclaim while shaking vigorously, “Get a hold of yourself, man! You’re living in some kind of crazy dream world if you expect there to be a new album every time I walk down the street! And you can’t conceive because you haven’t got a womb! Haven’t you seen Life Of Brian? They explain it in detail!”
But things have made slightly more sense for the past few weeks, as the question is once again relevant. There is indeed a new Statistics album. And it is called Often Lie. And it rocks. And you should rock it too. But allow me to explain.
Statistics is the solo outing alter ego of Desaparecidos member, Denver Dalley. I’m not exactly sure why indie rockers need to “branch out” from the stifling constraints of their already indie activities and go for some yet still indie-er side projects, but it should not concern or surprise you at all that one group you may or may not have heard of is actually made up of personnel from another group you may or may not have heard of. Such are the ways of the world in indie rock, so just get used to it.
But on to the music… It’s short, folks. In typical fashion for Statistics offerings thus far, there aren’t many tracks and the ones that are there don’t last very long. After two albums and one EP, their/his entire output could still fit on one cd. One full-to-the-top cd, but you get what I’m giving. But what it lacks in playing time, it makes up for with songs that have been living in my car nonstop for quite some time. I’ve been enjoying it because it rocks. It’s carefree, top-down (except my car doesn’t have a removable top, and even if it did I wouldn’t right now since it’s so blasted hot. I make the ‘top-down’ reference for the nostalgia it summons in the hearts of those of us who can’t afford convertibles, but still long to have music play in them) ear candy.
You know what? I really haven’t taken the time to dig through these lyrics. Half the time I don’t know what he’s saying, and the other half I don’t care. I enjoy it because these are well-crafted indie rock gems that are made to be turned up. They’re catchy. They enjoy being caught. And they enjoy being sung. The opener, “Final Broadcast,” sets the stage nicely for the album: jangly guitars run through any and every effect to be found, electronic noodlings for depth and texture, lyrics that are either painfully obvious or deeply metaphoric (and are actually neither) delivered with deadpan vocals that are nice enough to not be distracting, but are subtle enough to keep you focused on everything else going on instead. The theme then seems to carry on into “Nobody Knows Your Name.” In fact, continuity keeps the whole album focused while still allowing Denver to wander off just far enough to keep it all interesting. “By(e) Now” could be the best song on the record, if it weren’t for the short and sweet “At The End.” And neither are complete until the closing track, “10/22,” takes you on an instrumental, musical progressive dinner through the New Pornographer’s house for appetizers, Edge’s house for some barbeque, and finally Slash’s crib for a little dessert. There is nothing not to love about the last track, and as soon as it’s done (if you’re me, at least) you reach to start the whole thing over again.
I’m currently big enough into this album that it makes me want to throw out really wild and declamatory statements like “If you don’t like this album then you don’t like rock, and you’ve probably never rocked before. Ever.” or “What do you mean you don’t have the new Statistics record? What are you, some kind of perverted sexual predator with a botched tattoo on your upper thigh in the shape of a purple dragon named ‘Scooter’?” But this is one high-class rock effort that intrigues with its rough looseness but solid structure. And did I mention that it rocks?
The final and most spectacular reason I love this album is because Pitchfork (the website you hate to love, love to hate, and which also secretly loves to hate itself… all while hating you for loving anything at all), well… hated the record. It’s times such as this when I know I’m on the right track. I’m sorry, Pitchfork, was the album not navel-gazing enough for you? Or was it too so and that threatened your turf? Can you stop navel-gazing long enough to hear these questions? Did the nice melodies hurt your ears that are accustomed to searching for rasta-blip-hop or whatever the style flavor of the hour is? Do the colors of the album cover not match any of your ‘ironic saying’ t-shirts? Pitchfork, at least we can all take comfort in one thing: when this record is on, you feel bad. And that makes me feel all good inside.