Album Review: Um Are, ‘Child Prodigy’

Um Are Child Prodigy
(Self – April 10, 2015)
(Alternative, Indie, Experimental)
Review by Jared John Buchholz

Ugh, ugh, ugh…what is it with all this moronic stupidity lately (in regards to music)? My question of where’s the creativity—my question of why so much non-sense creativity—my question of do you like being boring— my question of do you want someone to shoot themselves after giving your “song” a listen—my question of did you get too many compliments about your musical talents from your mother growing up? There’s so much out there…how is a musician, a real one, supposed to reach up and grab onto that little bit of appreciation, with all the masses a clamoring for crap, and with all that online space wasted, waste tunes drowning out anything decent. Oh…that’s right. It’s a job left up to those that when they do actually hear something worth listening to, with their ears and soul, to tell others about it. With this in mind…and please…please, please, pretty please, with quarters in your teeth, and cherries on top of a mountain bowl of gorgeous Neapolitan ice cream, listen to Child Prodigy, by Um Are.

So now comes the part in which the convincing comes into play. We can begin with the negative. If you’re the sort of person who wants to listen to a country bump riff, Child Prodigy isn’t for you. If you’re the sort of person who wants their music to remind them of daffodils, Child Prodigy isn’t for you. If you’re the sort of person who is drawn to the mundane, the obvious, and subsequently enjoys wearing the same clothes as their best friend (since it’s adorable and self assuring when someone pays the both of you a compliment in regards to style), Child Prodigy isn’t for you. If you’re the hip-hip sort of person, and be honest with yourself, Um Are might be able to take that first hip away, saving you from disgrace when you hit age forty…however, if you’re the hip-hip sort of person and rather proud of being so, Child Prodigy isn’t for you. But if you’re not any of these…Child Prodigy is most definitely for you.

So now continues the part in which the convincing comes into play. Child Prodigy encompasses the particular realm, treading along that fine line of experimental rock, which is more than just plainly experimental. It’s listenable. It’s enjoyable. It’s creative. It’s rough, but beautifully rough. It’s heavy, but not in that lame heavy for heaviness sake heavy. It’s heavenly heavy. Take for instance the solid minute and one second long song called “Split”. Understand it’s the epitome of heavenly heavy…and if you don’t understand the phrase, listen to the song. The ending riff could go on for another two minutes, and here I am, stuck, playing it again and again, just to hear that heavenly heavy a little bit longer. Um Are alludes to themselves with a personal shout out in the opening track “Um Are You Gonna Finish That?” Which, of course, brings to my mind those Dandy Warhol self references, and dare I say it? Child Prodigy is what the Dandy’s wish they could have sounded like (and know that I’m a personally described Dandy Warhol fan). The song sounds like a Deerhoof/Dirty Projector combination, mixing with that wonderful heavenly heavy nineties static that seems to have disappeared almost completely from the modern music scene. “Perfect Dark” keeps the noise guitar Spaceman Five majesty theme going. I’ve forgotten how much I’ve missed this kind of music, and it goes and goes and simply goes, and then comes down wonderfully. But then you get that piano-ish “Essin’”, and the lovely “Loons+Divers”: both are so different, so pleasantly different, which brings to light the diverse abilities of Um Are. The band ain’t a one trick puppy dog, rolling on it’s back, boring everyone but the owner and those politely inclined individuals, pretending to be interested. The proof is in the musical pudding, and Child Prodigy is delectable.

So now ends the part in regards to convincing. And if you aren’t convinced, just listen to it anyways. You’ll be glad you did.





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