Flotation Toy Warning – Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck

Flotation Toy Warning are into the long song (ten songs over seventy-two minutes; you do the math). They construct slow-moving instrumental backdrops to lyrics consisting of at most five short verses or as short as ten lines. The songs begin with multiple repetitions of simple four-chord patterns vein until the dispassionate voice of Paul Carter comes in, a little rough, a little strained at times, but basically laid back. Then a nice string or brass figure – sometimes brass and strings intertwined – restates the main theme or plays contrapuntal games with it. There aren’t too many guitars, exceptions being the weird muted and tremolo-ed introductory ornament on Losing Carolina and the swirling, discordant (but muted) wah-wah instrumental break on Even Fantastica. This guitaristic flourish and the instrumental break of which it is a part are the sort of transitional element that is all too rare on Bluffer’s Guide: moments of tension or changes in direction that move the song to a different emotional or musical plateau. Too many of the songs are too uniform for too long, a fault compounded by the fact that, aside from a shuffle here or a triplet there, the tempos and rhythms of the whole album are uniformly slow take on the old rock and roll backbeat. The individual songs, as discrete experiences, are not nearly rewarding as the entirety of the album in which those songs appear, but an appreciation of the intra- and inter- song elements on this album requires a listener prepared to listen to the album as a whole. (Erik Weissengruber)

Misra Records, 1405 Broadmoor Drive, Austin, TX 78723, www.misrarecords.com, www.flotationtoywarning.com

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