The Mink Lungs

I'll Take It (Arena Rock Recording Company)

Details magazine proclaimed I'll Take It "the best album by a New York band since Remain in Light" -- such gushing has been common for Brooklyn's Mink Lungs. Unlikely candidates for antiscenester royalty -- Talking Heads be hanged -- the band is infinitely more adventurous than the one-note gutter rawkers of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and far less predictable than the gloom patrol of Interpol.

Whether burning down a frat house ("Dishes") or channeling John Cale for X-rated voyages through cosmic emptiness ("Bunny Bought a Spaceship"), this shape-shifting lot of urbane scatterpates has collegiate art rock down pat. Exuding experimental confidence that finds the members swapping instruments as often as mic duties, the Lungs take a cue from the mighty Ween, sounding like a different band on every other song. Tim Feleppa croons like Leonard Cohen at a slower speed, seething molasses and emphysema on fuzz-blown tunes such as "Black Balloon" and "Flying Saucer Home." Fellow guitarist/half-brother/singer Gian Carlo Feleppa celebrates retro fashion ("Men in Belted Sweaters") with enough conviction to honor Starsky, Hutch and Huggy Bear. When that joke wears thin (and it does), Gian Carlo endures bed spins for the good of indie rock, muttering drug-blissed lascivious asides on tunes like "Gorilla" that garner a few guffaws: "She fell asleep on the train with her legs apart/Her underwear was white with little red hearts." Meanwhile, the sweet-as-baklava girlie coo of bassist Jennifer "Ms. Frosty" Hoopes oozes pheromones on punk-fueled numbers ("Awesome Pride," "Mrs. Lester"), but she saves her best feminine ammunition for an inconsiderate neighbor ("The Man Downstairs").

If all of this sounds self-indulgent, it is -- entertainingly so. The Lungs' scattershot approach exploits everything from dobros and harps to back-masked bagpipes while somehow remaining cohesive and accessible. Reminiscent of Surfer Rosa-era Pixies or the long-lost outtakes from Bongwater's heyday on Shimmydisc, this Minked brand of eccentricity documents joy, irreverence, and fearless experimentation.

 
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