Surf’s Up

In 1971, The Beach Boys released an album that was markedly different form their initial, sunny surf rock conjuring pristine beaches dotted with multi-color surfboards and bronze boys in swimming trunks. Surf’s Up is more sophisticated in lyrics, and their signature vocal harmonising is refined to the point where multiple contrapuntal melodies effortlessly weave in and out of each other.
A quirky piano melody and guitar open the album, unraveling an environmentalist pop song. Despite the tired topic, the dense vocal harmonies give the song some originality. Long Promised Road is more somber in its lengthy introspection of the pains of growing up, yet is made fresh with the unexpected, bright chorus. Despite the odd theme, Take Good care of Your Feet is well-constructed and full of all sorts of interesting nuances and sound effects. Disney Girls (1957) is a soft ballad ruminating the ideal life, before such a fantasy suddenly becomes a reality in one of the most memorable sections of harmonising. 
Student Demonstration Time is just what its title suggests. Grittier, with a blues and big band tinge, the lyrics refer to several prominent protests in America, and The Beach Boys suggest “you better stay out of sight.” Feel Flows is full of cryptic poetry amidst a simpler arrangement and sound. The lengthy, King Crimson-esque solo and psychedelic guitar also show Brian Wilson’s continued interest in music beyond the pop industry. 
Lookin’ at Tomorrow (A welfare Song) is also as the title suggests, while A Day in the Life of a Tree is another environmentalist song, but with more subtlety. The arrangement is again simpler as childishly innocent lyrics are sung against the melancholic sublimity of the organ chords. Background vocals build the song towards something that would potentially have been spectacular had they not finished unresolved. ‘Til I Die is a reminder of how insignificant one human life is within something so much bigger surrounding them, and the song finishes with vocal lines seamlessly flowing through one another. The album closes with its title, a four-minute epic seeing erratic thematic changes and busy vocal harmonising where one line ends as another starts.
Surf’s Up shows The Beach Boys grown up and veered towards expressing themselves within a greater diversity of musical styles. At the same time, their sound is refined and vocal harmonising impeccable. 


Melody’s Echo Chamber hit the road with a touring band shortly after the completion of their debut album, a collaboration between Melody Prochet and Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker. Pablo Padovani was recruited as a guitarist in the band, and made a connection with Parker. His own five-piece band, Moodoid, then had their album mixed by Parker in early 2014, and saw the release of their debut, Le Monde MOO, in September.
Le Monde MOO (Translation: the world of MOO) is a Surreal odyssey through an immense richness and density of sound you would not have thought existed in the 21st century, an experience not deterred by French lyrics. Most impressive, however, is Moodoid‘s diverse musical palette. Jazz, progressive rock, rap and RnB are encompassed throughout the album without deteriorating the quality of each song. The brain behind the compositions incorporates these sounds and styles confidently, without overdoing himself or sounding arrogant.
With Padovani’s penchant for the unusual and oriental, Le Monde MOO contains a diversity of sounds and exotic instruments. In an interview with wordfrom, Padovani stated, “In the album, I worked with Gilles Andrieu, who plays saz (a stringed instrument from Turkey) and ud (a stringed instrument from North Africa). There’s also Didier Malherbe from the band Gong who came to play duduk, which is a flute made of wood from apricot tree that makes a totally great sound. To me, it’s a way to have soft and new textures.”

Le Monde MOO sweeps through quiet and unknown atmospheres, dreamy undulations to moments of rhythmic insistence heavily swathed in an 80s style. The listener is then plunged into the band’s signature sound of unraveling melodies and multiple stylistic changes within intensely colorful landscapes far removed from the ordinary world. 
Of the concept of the album, Padovani stated, “The idea of the disc is a path, some kind of initiatory stroll, like in Voltaire’s Candide in which I am the malicious guide who will get the the listener lost… In this world, we can see mountains of whipped cream, plains of loukoums (Arabic pastry), etc… There is a lot of mystery in the lyrics and in the structure of the songs. Thus, I think the listener will make his own effort of imagination.”
Strongly prevalent from Moodoid‘s sound and video clip costumes is an oriental and Surrealist influence. “Surrealism has always been a major source of inspiration. For the strength of the images it provides, for the mystery and fantasy that also inspires me. The music that I write is often very crude and very instinctive. They come from the depths in that way some Surrealist poets I admire also wrote, automatically,” said Padovani.