Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Repelican - Half Spasms

     The term "hook" is something we wield with a superficial lightness (as with many descriptors and most words in general).  The surrounding depth and richness, the topography and infrastructure that supports a hook, and the songcraftsmanship that yields its gem-like irrepressible jolt is easily overlooked.  I've been listening to Repelican's "Half Spasms" and having difficulty finding a place to begin explaining summarily my delight in listening to it.  It's an absolute necessity to address the totality of its creator's (Jon Ehrens) output.  A cursory look over innumerable recordings/projects reveals immense consistency.  Half Spasms is certainly no exception.  To say simply that this album "has hooks" would be a disservice to communicating the songwriting excellence being brought forth and the scope of his body of work only further supports that notion.  (For those unfamiliar take a dive into his back catalog: Art Department's "Paperwork/Birdwork" and White Life's self-titled LP are both standouts).  Jon Ehrens is an undeniable master of craft prolifically swiss-army-knifing his way through styles and instrumentation.  On Half Spasms the power/AM/bubblegum pop** canon of Todd Rundgren, David Quinton, The Toms, The Nerves/Plimsouls, and Felt all comes to mind.  Standing strongly there among them is Ehrens.  There's an inescapable quality to this record that keeps many of its parts constantly turning in my mind (often simultaneously).  That, for me, is the hallmark of the best "hook" and "pop" songwriting and through Ehrens seems to find its way in constant effortless abundance. 

**"Pop" another term VERY guilty of superficial lightness

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