Spain Colored Orange
Sneaky Like a Villain
Thanks to differences with Spain Colored Orange's former label Lucid Records, the songs on the local psych-pop quintet's brand-new disc Sneaky Like a Villain are already old hat to the band members. For the rest of us, though, Sneaky - released on Brooklyn's Shout It Out Loud Music - is a mellow, eclectic album that sounds both cagey and carnivalesque, accessible and exotic.
Some passages recall the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
, lost '70s "AM Gold" artists like Edison Lighthouse or the Raspberries and Steely Dan's wry jazz-rock fusion. Others aren't far off from latter-day note benders likewise all over the musical map, such as Calexico, Of Montreal or the Flaming Lips. (These are rough reference points, mind you, and SCO would probably take issue with any or all of them.)
Standouts include a chilly Christmas carol Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett might have written ("It Was Christmas Time"), some aggressively catchy Stevie Wonder electro-boogie ("You Think You Know") and jubilant closer "Birds and the Bees," which could come straight from a children's-TV soundtrack - as arranged by The Who's Pete Townshend, that is - and features guest vocals by founder Gilbert Alfaro's young son Sprout.
With so many sounds fed into SCO's stylistic blender, Sneaky
could have easily been a train wreck, but it works - it's more like a musical Jackson Pollock painting.