The Caribbean
Verse By Verse CD - Endearing

It's always sort of morbidly interesting to see a band break up, if only to observe its composite ingredients dissolve and then reconstitute into their more pure, elemental forms, almost like a prismatically refracted ray of light being broken up into a spectrum. Washington, DC's Smart Went Crazy released two albums on Dischord in the Nineties, and the fact that they were rather underwhelmingly received, of course, had nothing to do with how good they just so happened to be. In fact, 1995's Now We're Even and 1997's Con Art, like a significant portion of all the truly worthwhile records around, sound even better and more relevant now than when they first came out. And although drummer Tony Dennison may only have been around in Smart Went Crazy for their first album, threads of their distinctive, singular art-rock approach to clever pop music can still be traced to his new project, The Caribbean. While the other two post-Smart Went Crazy groups, The Beauty Pill and Faraquet, focus in their own particular and distinct ways more on the angular, mathy, and oblique, The Caribbean opt for a melting pot melange of pop schizophonia, with interwoven strands of Elephant 6 preciousness, vaguely Stereolabesque avant-samba and studio gimmickry, and an overall sense of hide-and-seek playfulness and sublime absurdism that, in spirit at least, conveys the same giddy euphoria that pervades the best stuff by the Flaming Lips. High, clear voices and good old fashioned jangly guitars pierce through tinny beat box clicks, jazzy undercurrents, and bursts of synthesizers, searing their skewed melodic patterns into your memory like a bright, vivid dream... (Jason Heller)



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