When I took a flyer on Carpark Records’ EAR PWR, I’m sure I had Beach House on my mind. Much to my chagrin but not so surprisingly, their sound is more along the lines of Carpark marquee Dan Deacon and label-mates, Adventure and Future Islands. As if the name alone, Super Animal Brothers III, wasn’t an indictment in itself, the “Jams o Jamz” from EAR PWR are heavy on the 8-bit chippiness, aurally schizophrenic, and lyrically impotent.
The story that has been and needs to be told of these two is as follows: The pair are North Carolina natives who’ve uprooted to Baltimore to cahoot with Deacon and the rest of the Carparkers. Devin Booze (a clearly uncommon surname) has a shitload of synthesizers and he’s got a nondescript degree in music technology from the Bob Moog-founded program at UNC Asheville. The implication from the press release is to let everyone know that he is learned in the art of the synth. Sarah Reynolds is cool too, hooting and hollering and singing about sparkly sweaters through a bullhorn. Her voice has that distinct purring found only within the luckiest four-year-olds chosen to appear on Yo Gabba Gabba!, y’know “Keep trying, keep trying, don’t give up, never give up.”
Super Animal Brothers III has 16 tracks, which come in at a hyperactive 34 minutes. And that’s not to say they’re all “songs.” Some are legitimately planned tunes, a few are ideas or afterthoughts and at least one (“Jams o Jamz”) simply announces the title of the song—serving as a brief exhale positioned directly in the middle of the record, seemingly to allow enough air to the lungs so as to allow the frenzy to continue. EAR PWR have also used YouTube to put themselves over. The video for “Future Eyes” is certain to cause brain damage and goes down in the books as among the most epilepsy-inducing productions of all time. Title track “Super Animal Bros. III” also gets the video treatment, this time with help from Baltimore’s Showbeast, enhanced by a Muppet storyline; it’s 110 percent asinine and certain to appeal to the Yo Gabba Gabba! crowd.
The majority of the tracks on Super Animal Brothers III end up being also-rans, but EAR PWR does have a decent pair of songs in “Super Animal Bros. III” and “Future Eyes.” Each can stand alone among the best of what has become an oversaturated genre of indie disco has to offer, easily surpassing any single song Dan Deacon has put forth to date, with the former serving as a personal anthem for the group. No doubt these two are tailor-made for Carpark cronyism and to be under Deacon’s tutelage sharing in his musical zaniness and aesthetic gaudiness but mostly eager to serve the Baltimore club scene.