Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Experimental, but structured electronic psychedelica with world music tendencies.

If I were head stock boy at Generic Music Pavilion #12 that's the section I would be shuffling to make room for the So L'il's (so very apostrophic) Dear Kathy. Not a section I would generally be spending much time in, but I'm glad I caught this album.

Dear Kathy, the most recent release by Brooklyn based So L'il, has absolutely beautiful moments. Rhythms and beats that could loop for hours without becoming tedious. They employ an amazing array of instruments. (Gotta love the guiro.) The songs are lyrically unrestrained, though sometimes too obtuse. Most of "The Outwordly Ugly Secretly Beautiful" seems to be free association rambling by lead-singer/songwriter Ben. The result is interesting, but also distracts from the track a bit.

The vocals seem overly cautious. It rarely feels like Robin and Ben were really comfortable with their voices. Robin shows range in "Enamel Animal" sliding from bite to lullaby. In the process, she seems separate from the track, almost in a hurry to get to the next lyric. In the words of the chorus, "going through the motions".

Likewise with "Dear", which is lyrically interesting and musically minimal. "Dear" is a nice contrast to the lushness of the other tracks with moments of Ben almost sounds embarrassed of his voice. They sound surprisingly disconnected for a band that has been releasing for 4 years (an EP and 7" with Neko Records and Revolution Thumpin, Dear Kathy with Goodbye Better). "Caribbean Dreams" is a standout favorite track for me. The beat is simple, but awesome. Both Ben (thought I was hearing Sean Lennon for a second) and Robin seem at their most comfortable.

Dear Kathy is a definite recommended listen. Not many tracks are of the "follow the bouncing ball catchy hook variety", but I look forward to seeing them live if they hit my neighborhood. Hopefully they have found a way to incorporate their Wurlitzer, omnichord, melodica, xylophone, guiro, and recorder into their stage shows.