This is the second album from Seatle's Throw Me The Statue, an outfit that originally began as the one-man project of the multifaceted Scott Reitherman then evolved into the charmingly fresh sound that makes up Creaturesque. Its predecessor Moonbeams pricked up the ears of many a music critic with its ample helping of lo-fi bliss and while Creaturesque retains much of this element it's the production work from Phil Ek (The Shins, Built To Spill, Band Of Horses) that elevates this sound to maximalist indie-pop heights.
The transition to these heights is an interesting one and it's what's left in its trail that make this record intriguing. TMTS can drop in some of the most well formed pop hooks that it sometimes borders on cliche. The glittery glockenspiel that erupts on the hand-clap chorus of opener Waving At The Shore runs dangerously close to the sugary drivel that made the Magic Numbers so hard to swallow. But I think it's the fact that Reitherman has come from such lo-fi roots that this sweetness stays palatable due to an everpresent DIY presence that runs through it. I don't mean DIY in the No Age sense but in the Grandaddy sense I guess. Sub Pop's Chad Vangaalen is probably a better point of reference, with the occasional decrepit synthesiser being employed to churn out a vulnerable drum beat on which is built this impressive structure. But the intriguing thing is the contrast between the times when very little is built on this structure and a song like Tag plays out with its bare bones on full display, leading into its antithesis Ancestors. As the lead single Ancestors is a slice of indie-pop perfection. With an endlessly marketable and surprisingly anthemic guitar riff to base things on this can hardly fail and the way, mid way through the track, it pairs down to a simple acoustic strum as if he's just walked into a different room is magnificent. The drumming on all of these tracks is what really propels them. Cannibal Rays is a perfect example with its infectiously rolling pace providing a bubbling and flowing support for Reitherman's soft vocals.
And this voice is also very adaptable and further encourages the Vangaalen comparisons. Reitherman is as comfortable at the dizzy heights of the grand indie riffs of Hi-Fi Goon or the lowly folk acoustics of Shade For A Shadow. His delivery can be as gruff as old boots or so soft he could be singing his kids to sleep. So I guess what I'm saying is that this is an album of subtle contrasts. Nothing is abrasive or challenging and things may occasionally veer towards perilous lands of sugar but as The Outer Folds brings the record to a gentle close with its lounge-act melodies and softly brushed rhythms it's pretty hard not to sit back and smile at what you've just heard. This is infectious for all the right reasons, it's anthemic and intimate, it's polished and yet threads hang unapologetically from its edges. But somewhere in amongst all that is something that keeps me coming back for more and I will continue to do that until I hear any of these on a T-Mobile ad. Reitherman, you have been warned.