On Book of Bad Breaks, Thee More Shallows’ follow up to 2005’s More Deep Cuts and their first release for artsy Cali hip-hop label Anticon, the group manages to capture an imaginative dreamscape, much like that of Of Montreal’s recent electro-fantasy excursions. Starting off the album singing about myths, songwriter Dee Kesler intones, “What is a myth for the young people/ Meant to enslave them for something of someone,” strewn over melodious riffs to create a fabled atmosphere that sets the tone for the fantastical album.
Picking up the album with a fast-paced pulsating drumbeat the band pieces together a story about “being safe by dumb luck.” Ending in a regal sounding procession and introducing an Isaac Brock-like sounding anthem, Thee More Shallows proves diversity was one of their main aim’s for this release.
A Mario Party medley introduces us to “Night At The Knight School,” a song which dissipates into a story concerning “doodling, drawing, and concentrating” with a quickened, deliberate drum pound fading to a close at 3:02 and progressing into an airy interlude, reminiscent of a concerto and rapidly morphing into lewd distortion over frail drum thumps.
“Proud Turkeys” starts off with a foreign sounding buzz, and the memorable percussion picks up, lyrics hasten, and head nodding trumps ensue. Just a few keystrokes of a piano later, the second interlude takes over, swelling into a buzzing bee, transcending to the distortion of the next few tracks, favorably including
“Fly Paper” and its concentrated, constant bass.
The twanging strum of “The White Mask” offers contemplation about life and living in general, giving the illusion of wandering through, while “Chrome Caps” gives the bounce of an echoing landscape strewn with misfortune and foreboding. Sharpening into closer “Mo Deeper” takes us to a backdrop of an intergalactic plane informing the listener “of a gift.” Thee More Shallows prove fairy tales can transfigure to songs, and can make for an unyielding album that’s not only memorable, but a thoroughly enthralling listen.