Music for Total Chickens is built from bits of pop architecture nailed together in odd forms; it is structurally sound (no pun intended) but at the same time it defies the conventional laws of (pop) physics. There are twisty-turny time signatures, swaddled in chunky guitar fuzz and sweet strings and harmonized "ooo"s and direct lyrical love-notes, sometimes riding percussive trails all the way up great crescendos to pinnacles of bang-crash (like if Deerhoof recorded a self-help album). For all those containing inner wrestlings (and who hasn't at one time found themselves in the throes of battle?), this album resonates-these songs intend to celebrate and encourage everyone's wrestling match with their demons, whatever they may be. This is a brave album of advice for those seeking happiness, and so the music also strives for happiness. This is caring advice for those in the depths of uncertainty, and so the music is also caring and uncertain.
Of course this album is not only directed outwards, but is also written to Rafter's own struggles-this naked sincerity is a balls-y move in a cultural environment overpopulated by the uber-cool pose and the jaded artist soul. His commitment to such a singular and not-quite-popular and yet love-filled purpose shows Rafter's kinship with AK labelmates the Danielson Familie (though his is a secular perspective), both in word- and song-feel. The frank talk, kind ecouragement and heavy subjects are everywhere wrapped in a magic, silly, death-defying playfulness, as if to say that no matter how serious your suffering may be, this whole business is still child's play. This is advice for those seeking happiness, and so the music also strives for happiness. This is advice for those in the depths of uncertainty, and so the music is also uncertain. This is possibly the most straightforward lyrical message you'll ever hear, and despite (or because of) this, it presents a challenge. The challenge is to abandon your learned stance, and open your ears up for some honest communication.
released 23 January 2007
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