Mon 12th November 2012
I was once a member of Rough Trade’s Album of The Month club, where every four weeks some obscure CD would drop through the letterbox. It was usually some unfeasible mix of country, folk, pop and indie. Buttonhead, if they haven’t been on Rough Trade’s list, bloody well should be.
This album won’t be like anything that has been reviewed on Ninehertz in living memory, if ever! It starts with Fanfare where over an Arcade Fire type intro the band sing in monkey language, albeit in a tuneful way - think ooh, aah ooh ee aah.
Next up is a pretty folkish tune with delicate guitar playing and an ethereal female voice- Boys in the Ball Pool- that, frankly, was the last thing you were expecting after the opening number. This sets the tone for the whole album. There are frequent time changes where indie guitars alternate with the sort of Casio keyboard riff you played in music lessons when you were 12. It all adds up to something that whilst completely crackpot has an equal amount of charm.
Short instrumentals then alternate with Cocteau Twins type numbers that turn into free for alls, with thundering drums and gang vocals. Of course, there is also a bit of violin and Doctor Who-style keyboard sound effects thrown in here and there for good measure.
It’s not without its faults. You could argue that they are trying a bit too hard to sound different on every track and lack a clear musical identity. I personally don’t mind that, but it’s hard to see quite who Butttonhead’s natural audience is. If you like Laura Marling or Fleet Foxes then whilst there are moments on the album you might love, there are an equal number of tracks that might make these New Folkies rip the headphones from their ears.
If you love Electric Wizard and think anything other than doom is for the ladies then I would steer clear of Buttonhead. But if you fancy something different, and let’s face it this certainly ticks that box, then give 3D Opera Whale a chance. At the very least it’ll make you smile.