Albatross Note The Art Lodge Tapes

Albatross Note is one of the many off-the-cuff, tongue-in-cheek musical entities (along with Mr. Myles and Eyeball Hurt & the Medicine) that exist among the members of the Winnipeg-based Royal Art Lodge, a visual arts collective that includes Marcel Dzama, the famous artist whose work has graced the covers of Beck’s Guero and the Weakerthans’ Reconstruction Site. Much like the Art Lodge’s whimsical and playful visual art, which is steeped in innocent imagery exploring ideas of repression and alienation, Albatross Note blend highly accessible lo-fi melodies that are brimming with joy on the outside but on closer listens reveal a dark, pessimistic underbelly. Dzama’s voice is like that of a befuddled Lee Hazlewood, calling from the far end of a warehouse, and there’s a down-home rustic vibe to many of the songs, but this is hardly a way to pin down the sound of this ramshackle and varied project. For the most part, simple, catchy pop fragments are the order of the day here, but then closer "Geravseh Music” is a straight-up early PiL groove that lasts over seven minutes. One constant remains throughout this debut (released on chief Hidden Camera Joel Gibb’s private Evil Evil label) however, and that’s its intimate and unpretentious honesty. Let’s hope they continue excavating the Art Lodge vaults for more of these fractured gems. (Evil Evil)