US - Massachusetts - Full Moon 104 - 03/25/05
Lost and Safe
"A few deep breaths after finishing their acclaimed record The Lemon of Pink, The Books set out to make their third album, Lost and Safe. Still based in North Adams, MA, The Books moved their studio across town from a freezing cold pantry in a ramshackle tenement into a moderately sized bedroom in the attic of a historic Victorian, heat included. They busied themselves buying up unmarked audio tapes at Salvation Armies across the east coast, expanding their notorious library of found sounds and samples to truly absurd proportions. Along with The Books' mainstays of cello, guitar, mandolin and banjo, which all make appearances in Lost and Safe, they also invested in a few new instruments, most notably: a set of tuned plastic drain pipes, a cheap metal filing cabinet with subwoofers installed in it, and a vintage Hohner clavinet, which they salvaged from a Dutch basement and restored to funkiness. Also, Nick taught himself how to sing, more or less, and Paul forged ahead in building an impressive library of found video and fonts." (From Insound.com)
The Books are one of those bands I was in love with from the beginning. I bought their debut, Thought for Food, in 2002 and was introduced to truely new, alive, completely original sound. Wasn't quite as impressed by The Books' softmore outting, but Lost and Safe brings me further than either. Maybe the biggest catalyst: voice and lyric. How close they seem on this album. Beautiful. Simply marvelous sounding. And fortunately they haven't lost their electronic tendencies in lieu of their new-found verse.
"Smells Like Content" brings the voices of The Books closer than ever before. Here we have conversational spoken word and long, elegant and subdued sung verse. "It Never Changes to Stop" features a terrorizing recording of a preacher, recalling previous Books wryness. "An Animated Description of Mr Maps" has a huge electroacoustic drum sound, a huger drum sound than The Books have ever used before. We also find more media recordings and extensive verse in this song, which honestly the more they use the more I like. "Venice" features a funny recording of a performance art show in Italy.
The Books are able to pull even more genres together on this album than ever before, and they are being completely bold here. They are shining bright, using all the tools they've learned from their previous musical adventures. This is a Great Album.
Copyright © 2005 Bill Banks