Methyl Ethyl - Everything Is Forgotten

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Perth band Methyl Ethel's Oh Human Spectacle was a solid record, and a promising 2016 debut. But it also suggested they had plenty to prove if they were going to make an impression on the increasingly overcrowded area of psychedelic indie pop. Jake Webb showed himself to be a skilled writer of shimmering psych-pop, but his compositions didn't quite have the bombastic pomp of tracks like Tame Impala's "Elephant" or MGMT's "Electric Feel." In comparison to the dreamy haze of their previous work, Everything Is Forgotten is filled with tracks that have an uptempo, sassy groove that was absent from their debut. Lead single "Ubu" is symptomatic of this shift in pace and atmosphere, and it's also an example of how Webb's voice has grown in authority. Overall the record sounds more immediate and present than their previous collection. In spite of the increased tendency toward a more upbeat musicality, the themes presented here appear to be darker. "No. 28" stands as one of the albums strongest tracks due to its captivating staccato chorus, but it also contains some of the more disturbing lyrics on the record: "I’m tearing at my skin/And with the melting flesh/Compound your pain." Webb returns to the topic of troubled relationships time and time again over the course of the record. The initially tuneful "Femme Masion/One Man House" dissects a toxic relationship: "The way you make me feel like a fool/It gets on your skin and in your nose/Now it’s in my mind that I’m just no good." But as the track unfolds so does the sweet melody, which eventually disintegrates into abrasive white noise, and the lyrics collapse under the pressure: "Your house has come undone/And I, I’m so tired/I’m real tired." "L’Heure Des Sorciéres" begins in equally unnerving fashion, but overall there are no great surprises -- for all the additional flourishes, this is pretty straightforward indie pop. The same could be said for "Groundswell," which best reflects the slightly gothic air that pervades the record, and yet as the vocal reaches out, it goes nowhere, leading to a sense of dissatisfaction. Lyrically it heads for drama that the music fails to replicate. Webb worries on "Schlager," "I’m constant flow/Before I’m ink and dye/A thought dipped in time/Who’ll remember my entire life?" yet his overripe concerns are matched by a disappointingly mediocre tune. That said, there is much to be enjoyed on Everything Is Forgotten, but the elegant lightness of touch on their debut has all but disappeared. The potential is clearly still there, but next time they'll really need to embrace and explore it to their full ability if they are to make their mark.

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