Critics tend to commit a musical faux pas among some readers and colleagues when they create or use a new genre name to describe a contemporary sound. While a lot of unique artists are making innovative music today that goes way beyond pigeonholing, it’s no secret that there is an abundance of freewheeling and jovial psychedelic jubilance with eccentric and erratic sonic ingredients floating around out there, and State Bird probably will remain the most fun out of all of them for the time being.
The sophomore album from Dover, Ohio brainchildren Cory Hartzler and Jared Riblet is a bubbling gumbo delight with super feral percussion, amped-up twee pop harmonies and celebratory hooting and hollering. A plethora of musical influences are abundant on Mostly Ghostly, all of which lie in the foundation of some caffeinated psychedelic calypso.
Most of Mostly Ghostly‘s creative guile stems from all corners of primal Americana and a multitude of other corners of the world fusing together the jauntiness of bluegrass and tango with their own concocted hallucinatory twang. Among the album’s most palatial tracks is the old-timey carnival cabaret of “Ghost King Pt.1.” “The Hollerin’ Mountains” is a country battered barn dance ditty that flows like a crescendo and fades out with the band members’ laughing and jovial banter in the studio where one describes the song as being “like beyond hoedown.” Yup, State Bird is knows how to throw down one antsy hootenanny where the homemade booze jugs marked “XXX” are laced to the “T” with psychotropic substances. The Gypsy-esque Eastern Bloc influences on the latter half of the album are akin to a record cut by Beirut and crew after a lengthy session of drinking games where absinthe is the preferred elixir. Be sure not to miss how perplexing their fusion of Latin and country can be.
What it all comes down to is how Mostly Ghostly renders State Bird as a band whose music exhibits that there is nary a nook or cranny on the earth from which the most rhapsodically induced of its native and contemporary musical lineage isn’t somehow represented in cohesive listen of this long player, be it an obvious influence or a cryptic ambiguity that has seeped into the backs of their psyches.