The Line Of Best Fit Radio

Monday, October 23, 2006

Review: Wondernaut - The Youth Is Wasted

Currently signed on the up and coming indie label American Laundromat Records is Billy Gro, or Wondernaut as he's most commonly known hails from Oklahoma City. He's been making a splash on American college radio stations for some time, and, after limited copies of his debut self-titled EP sold out he's back with a 12 track debut album "The Youth Is Wasted". Recorded over a period of 10 months by Billy and an 8 track, the album certainly has some moments of lo-fi beauty.

Kicking off with a 3 minute waltz of layered fuzzed out guitars and an infectious melody "Chemical Attraction Ecstasy" its obvious that Billy wears his influences on his sleeve. Not thats neccesarily a bad thing. The vocals on the opening track especially remind me of fellow Oklahoma resident Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

"U Think Yer Cool" is a stab at the uber cool underground scene with its playground-ish jibes of "U think yer cool and I am not, u think yer cool but your'e not" - its not going to win any awards for lyrical genius - but maybe thats the point. It does get your foot tapping though.

One of the oldest songs here, "Whisper" has a simple heart wrenching melody, the only downside to it, as with a lot of these songs is the over use of effects on the tracks, especially the vocals. I'd love to hear this song in particular broken down with just an acoustic guitar and vocals. The continuous flanging effects on the instruments and vocals are ultimately a distraction to what could be one of the strongest songs here.

Things pick up though with the buzz saw pop of "Valerie", "Such Sweet Melancholy" and "Out Of Friction", if you close your eyes for long enough you almost feel like you're listening to a band from the C86 era or maybe even Teengage Fanclub'isms circa Bandwagonesque / Thirteen - particulary the bands main songwriter Norman Blake, I think it might be the vocal delivery, I don't know.

What I do know is that if lo-fi college indie pop is youre thing you should certainly check this guy out.

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