When an artist titles his album’s closing song “And Finally,” there’s a relieving sense that, for someone so bent on using strange electronic sounds, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Chow Chow Music (the project of Astoria’s Peter Hanlon) seems determined to unsettle its audience on the oddly entertaining album Doomsday Scenarios.
“Cookies” introduces the album with an instrumental song-fragment featuring a lilting ukulele, bells and hand-held percussion. The uke returns on the precious and astutely titled “Fluteuke” with an out-of-tune riff under a duo of flutes playing an ostinato reminiscent of a fifth grade recital. Combine that with the overdriven, low-frequency synthesizer and a drum track lifted from some power ballad and you get the essence of Hanlon’s idea of experimentation: grab whatever instrument is within reach, slam the tones against each other, and see what happens. The combination of such disparate timbres often yields interesting results.
One of the few tracks with lyrics, “Springtime” takes a Mold Peaches approach and pushes its cuteness to the extreme. “Springtime flowers and the pretty birdies chirp in time with my hurdy gurdy/I’m dripping honey and there’s bunnies all around,” they sing in a chorus that recalls the kind of children’s song that actually frightens kids and parents, alike. A hurdy gurdy, incidentally, is a mechanical fiddle-like instrument with a drone that functions much like that of a bagpipe. Something new every day. Doomsday Scenarios has a dark humor that applies an “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” attitude to the apocalypse (“Make your own clothes and learn to farm/Cities were great, but rural life’s got its charms”). The mostly instrumental tunes on this record certainly have their charms, too; and much of Chow Chow Music’s material works, not only because of the quirky experimentation, but also because of Hanlon’s twisted sense of humor. (self-released)
I thought that this cover looked kinda cool. I could tell this would be very interesting Indy type music just from this cover. I mean come on, panda bears and ghosts thinking about heart ache?!The Music: Not too bad Chow Chow. The album opens up with a nice, relaxing mandolin / ukuele sounding little riff. It is like I am a child again. This shit ran through my head as a kid like crazy. At any rate it has a nice sound to it. Catchy little riffs, and it fits into this whole “Lets use strange instruments to make goofy but easy noises” music. Lots of bells, synth, fuzzy stuff. If that is up your alley, you will love this.I didn’t think I was going to get any lyrics until song 4 came along, and again it sounds like I am back in the 3rd grade. Shit makes you feel happy if you can muster it. I wouldn’t blast this stuff from my car, not even the emo chicks in Portland would think I was cool (Being cool is very important BTW). However, I can put on my earphones and work to it nicely.Some of my dude friends would beat me up for listening to this. Chicks would think I am cool, or “artsy”Complexity: Well, they are not ripping out crazy scales or anything, but they layer their music very nicely.Quality: Great sound, well balanced. You can tell they took their time making this album. Maybe they didn’t take their time, and they just kick ass in the studio. Who knows..
Doomsday Scenarios: “Largely instrumental, the music is upbeat in contrast to the album title, but recorded with the knowledge that the world is gonna end. Soon.” D-Exp-I-P-Psy
Doomsday Scenarios — Instrumental music made with unconventional instruments in an upbeat mood.