1 of 2 thought this review was well written
The Books began in 2000, when a man named Nick Zammuto (guitar, vocals) met Paul de Jong (chello, violin) through a mutual friend in New York. After awhile they put their different acoustic backgrounds to make sweet experimental music together. After their first release in 2002, they decided to have the pretty vocals of Anne Doener to join the party for this record, released in 2003.
The only way I can possibly describe the Books' style is to imagine yourself in front of a wall of televisions; and all of them are rapidly changing channels. They use audio samples of conversations, interviews, speeches, etc., along with guitar and some vocals to create a undescribable sound. It would be easy to just put random voices into a song, but the way these guys do it makes it seem magical. They also are extremely talented on acoustic guitar and violin, and it often comes through through alot of their songs aswell, taking the focus off of the dialogue and clips. All of the songs seem to flow perfectly together, making the whole thing sound so simple, when on closer listening, is full of complexity.
The Lemon of Pink begins with the Lemon of Pink Part One. There is a piano and violin with people saying the "Lemon of Pink". there is also whispering and a sound of dripping. It then changes gears to a western folk style guitar and random noises that include horse clops, a man speaking, and sniffing (?) noises. A woman's voice comes in and sings. Another recorded vioce says "The Lemon of Pink". It then abruptly stops.
The Lemon of Pink Part Two- A somewhat soft guitar comes in, then is overlapped with a violin. The violin comes in at different times, and sometimes it seems like they just cut/pasted the violin part. It changes moods often form being somewhat screechy to flowing near the end. Everything cuts out, and you hear a brief period of dialogue. A voice says "Are we like, major or minor, anyway?"
Tokyo-Another guitar/violin intro. A voice says "Tokyo", and then a fast picked intricate guitar comes in. It just reminds me of a clip of people walking down a city street sped up. Static then washes over the guitar and a voice is saying "Welcome to Japan Airlines, I hope you have an enjoyed flight.."etc. The violin then has an intricate part, overlapped with a guitar and then piano. Chaos. The guitar goes alone, and clips of vioces come in and out, some speaking Japanese, some just random noises. The guitar slows down from its frantic pace, and plays a delicate riff. Another clip of dialogue, this one unclear, and another abrupt stop.
Bonanza-It begins with keyboard of sorts and someone talking a foreign language throughout. This song is 52 seconds long and doesnt really fit the mood from Tokyo. A short song I like to skip over.
S is for Everysing- It begins with a guiar, and various other alternating instruments. It is full of clips that sound like they are from a home movie. A violin also plays in juction with the clips, creating different moods. It then overlaps with a placed droning sound. It then stops, a voice saying the months of the year (it sounds similar to Spanish, but some of the months arent pronounced right, so I'm not too sure) and someone else speaking. This then flows to a woman and a man singing softly. A clip then comes in with a man saying the Lord's Prayer, and the song stops.
Explanation Mark-This is another short clip (19 seconds), with people just babbling syllables and vowel pronounciation. Again, it ruins the wonderful mood set by the previous song.
There is No There-It starts out with some sort of electronic instrument, followed after awhile with a guitar. A banjo then takes over with this melody that had been thrown around by the guitar and electronic instrument. The music stops, a speech by Albert Einstein comes in, talking about Ghandi. The guitar comes in again, with a wonderful solo part. Unclear male vocals then come in, stutterred. The guitar continues this quick nice part. It stops, and there is a the-rain-has-stopped-and-the-clouds-have-parted moment, and a banjo comes in for a brief period, playing all folk-y. The guitar comes back in, slower, and twinkly music. Another incoherent vocal and the acoustic comes back in, more twangy sounding, then stops. (I am led to believe that the vocals will be clear and actually be words if the song was played backwards, but I have yet to test my idea.)
Take Time begins with percussion and another man speaking a foreign language. A clip with people clapping comes in. Then a vocal comes in singing "Take Time". A few different clips slip in telling stories about girls in trees, things happening, people laughing time and now, etc. A guitar and violin come in at certain times beneath all this. The "Take Time" vocals takeover and continue until the end of the song.
The Future, Wouldn't That be Nice- It starts with hands slapping something a a few other drum noises made by...something. Guitar comes in, just doing a slow picking at some few notes. Whistering then comes in and things speed up. Vocalizations then come, with some clips of crowds laughing, a man talking about how he cried, and some lyrics. A xylophone then comes in, a slapping sound somes in, and it returns to the lyrics/clips/guitar part. The lyrics repeat "a mind has a mind of it's own", and the song ends.
A True Story of a Story of True Love-an echoey sort of voice says "Anything" at the start of this song. A slow guitar comes in. A vocal is heard singing the title of the song, and then a man saying " With your eyes closed, close your eyes" Random clips then come in, over the guitar. Some, again, with foriegn language, but most without. The guitar comes back in and fades out. All that is heard is the weird electronic instrument and forms of alternate percussion. This continues and rises and falls, eventually becoming mostly quiet, exept for a few soft noises and they eventually fade out completely.
That Right Aint Sh*t begins with a jazzy-esque guitar and an odd piano chord. Various percussion come in and the pace quickens. It continues this way for most of the song, except for the end when a small clip is heard of a girl and the percussion drops out.
P.S. -It begins with a woman clearing her throat, pausing and giggling nervously. A man then giggles nervously and stutters somwehat. They both try to speak, but keep tripping over words and giggling. A samll conversation happens, most of it in fragments, not really knowing whats going on. The vibe is really awkward. And it is another short song, being 55 seconds long. At the end, the woman says bye and the album ends. This short song somehow seems to fit though, somehow, and makes an okay closer for the album.
All in all, the album is debatable. It has extreme highs and deep lows. Some songs have the ability to just sit there amazed, and others make you think otherwise. With that said you cannot deny the musical talent and creativity in the trio. It is a collage of intricate guitar and violin and vocals and audio clips to make music that is truly their own.
S is for Everysing
There is No There.