In the '70s, 'Brian and Michael' signified beards, flat caps and 'Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs.' In 2016, Brian and Michael means precocious teenage New Yorkers, the D'Addario brothers. This, their debut album on 4AD, is a clear marker of their significant instrumental talent and their extensive musical knowledge. A lot of these songs were written two years ago; all most of us composed at seventeen or fifteen was the occasional turgid, navel-gazing poem. Much as the D'Addarios are the future, the album takes us back to the '70s and into in an ambitious, noisy madhouse of genres.
Here's the thing, though. You know when you go to one of those eateries where you pay up front and eat gutloads of whatever you fancy? You get excited. You amass things on a plate that don't necessarily go, but you just want them? You can't contain yourself. You feel a tad bilious by the end. That's how Do Hollywood feels. It begins sunnily, with a bit of 'Beach Boys meet Mud' doo-wop, and yet by track two, the cartoonish 'Those Days Is Comin', we're already into the song probably deemed too nuts by the Beatles for Sgt Pepper. Track three, the palpably daft 'Haroomata' morphs from prog guitar and keyboards into a gaudy circus theme, during which we expect one brother to ride in on a wonky-wheeled car, dressed as Rococo the Clown.
Lead single and misfit anthem, 'These Words' shows the brothers at their coherent best, "Why should I have to follow you to know just who I am?" raising the question whether they are magpies or curating connoisseurs when it comes to their music. Pure Ben Folds though it is, it will surely live longest in our memories. There's also a madcap, Muppet-like xylophone solo (naturally). 'As Long As We're Together' gives us a lo-fi White Stripes sound, with layers of fuzzed distortion, crazed shouting and a keyboard solo that sounds like Sweep from The Sooty Show being murdered.
The back end of the album falls away, including two falsetto-driven, middle-aged Christopher-Cross-like numbers. 'Hi + Lo' sounds like they've disagreed over what to record, and in the true spirit of fraternal non-compromise, each decided to play what they wanted over the other. 'A Great Snake' concludes proceedings with a boisterous sub-Bowie track, which seems to be heading for a glorious crescendoed finish, before a frankly unnerving 90-second coda of 'bom bom boms' that evokes an excess of hallucinogens down at Fraggle Rock, and has the naffest ending since Stevie Wonder recorded 'I Just Called To Say I Love You'.
Michael said, "Nobody's going to get bored" listening to the album, which is true enough, but you could easily end up feeling queasy and over- stimulated. It's like a naughty spaniel - slightly potty and often fun, but equally likely to jump up inappropriately and hump your leg. Either way, it grips you somewhat.
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