Seattle band Throw Me the Statue are a difficult band to classify. Sure, there’s the catch-all “indie pop” label that could easily be applied, but that’s not the classification I am talking about. This band is a chameleon, and their latest effort, Creaturesque, is one hell of a shapeshifter of a record. Opening track “Waving At The Shore,” with its bouncy melody and horns, immediately recalls The Cure’s “Close To Me.” The shuffling psychedelia of “Tag” and the bouncy pop of “Dizzy From The Fall” are dead ringers for The Shins. “Ancestors” is a great (if slightly out of fashion) imitation of a Joy Division/Interpol song, with lead singer Scott Reitherman sounding eerily like Ian Curtis at points. Deliciously sugary guitar tune “Hi-Fi Goon” unabashedly copies the style of fellow northwesterners Built to Spill, throwing in a bit of Blur and Pavement for good measure. Before the album’s close, we also have what sound like dead-on imitations of Beck in his Mutations/Sea Change acoustic mode (“Baby, You’re Bored”) and Neil Young (“Shade For A Shadow”). These are all pretty impeccable influences to have, and it’s understandable when a band makes obvious reference to the groups that inspired them. However, Throw Me the Statue haven’t yet found a way to blend together the elements of their influences into a cohesive or defining sound of their own. The result is a collection of songs that sound like individual tributes to other bands rather than ones that build an identity for their creators.
That said, you may be shocked to read that I really enjoy this album. Reitherman sure as hell knows how to write a hook. Each of these songs stands on its own in terms of songwriting, and the result is akin to a really great mix tape. Reitherman’s lyrics are fragmentary and not easily decipherable, but most of the songs and Reitherman’s vocal delivery have a laid-back, hippie vibe, giving the record a great summer feel. Aside from the aforementioned “Hi-Fi Goon,” the other stand out track on Creaturesque comes when Throw Me the Statue take a step away from their influences and create something entirely their own on closing track “The Outer Folds.” The song kicks off with a soft, walking drum beat, which is then greeted with a lazy but engaging keyboard hook before giving way to Reitherman’s chill out vocals and a dreamy chorus. The resulting product is perfect for a lazy summer day floating on the river or lounging in the sun. With Creaturesque, Throw Me the Statue have remained a bit too chained to their myriad influences, but even the obvious imitations are put together with enough talent and intelligence to still make up a highly enjoyable summer album. It won’t change your life, but so what? What is this, a Zach Braff movie?
Throw Me the Statue will be playing with Brunettes at the Mohawk in Austin on 9/11/09. If you don’t go to this show, the terrorists have won.
Throw Me the Statue – “Hi-Fi Goon”
Throw Me the Statue – “Ancestors”