Foam Castles invite you to Come Over to My House

Digital domicile
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  April 13, 2011

DROP ON BY Foam Castles.

Bitch all you want about the firehose of new music nowadays, but the lowered barriers to recording and distribution certainly do make it easier for artists to be a lot more playful in their releases. For Foam Castles' newest appetizer — four songs, 16 minutes — we get an effort that's unabashedly written and produced with a computer (frontman Tyler Jackson even lists "computer" as one of his instruments in the liner notes) and though it's not correct to call the songs disposable, they do have an ephemeral, candy-like quality.

On the opening "Horticulture Friends," that means fun. With a '70s strut and a bit of funk it cycles like a club dance track, peppering quickly spoken verse in the center of repeating phrases. "Walking through the Desert" is damn danceable, too, with some Caribbean flavor and a descending guitar line like Vampire Weekend. Peet Chamberlain's (Brenda) bass line is pop playful at about three minutes, keeping some digital caustic disturbance from derailing the song.

But "The Red Now" is a little more serious, à la something you might hear on Milled Pavement, instead of the Peapod Recordings that Foam Castles call home. It's a dense amalgam of sounds, with synths sounding like strings and plenty of crunchy digital wash. Jackson's bass line is the song's heart, though, taking dominance in the finish so you have something to wrap your arms around.

Finally, there is "Hero Island Short," a meditative and mildly plodding piece that features Mandy Wheeler's (Honey Clouds) dreamed-out vocals and a few notes from the bass, amid dirty, crunchy, spacey production.

After three albums of mostly singalong choruses and much more melody than we find here, it's a good use of the EP form by Foam Castles to push out some new and different fare. Pop it in, give it a spin, and don't feel too guilty if it's not something you're still listening to next month.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at

COME OVER TO MY HOUSE | Released by Foam Castles | with Kurt Baker + Grand Hotel | at Newbury Comics, in South Portland | April 16 | with Metal Feathers + Rattlesnakes + aLEX kEATON | at Geno's, in Portland | April 23 |

  Topics: CD Reviews , Vampire Weekend, Alex Keaton, Honey Clouds,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FIRST SECOND COMING  |  August 22, 2014
    Hey, look, I Discovered a Planet
  •   THE CRUNK WITCH THAT THEY ARE  |  August 14, 2014
    Three albums in, Crunk Witch are now far more than novelty. The all-digital, husband-wife duo of Brandon Miles and Hannah Collen have created enough material at this point to establish a clear method behind what can sometimes seem like madness.  
  •   FIRE ON FIRE  |  August 07, 2014
    From the varying deliveries and styles through the three fully instrumental tracks, there’s a lot to consider in Pyronauts , with equal attractions in playing it loud in the car with the windows down and in the headphones.
  •   HIP HOP SUMMER  |  July 31, 2014
    For pure output, it’s hard to argue Portland is anything but a hip hop city.
  •   SEVEN-MAN ARMY  |  July 24, 2014
    Lately, it’s been open season on “Wagon Wheel,” which has become the acoustic musician’s “Freebird,” one of the very few songs that people actually know well enough to find it funny to request.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE