The Most Underrated Band on The Planet: A Retrospective
Part 3 - I will Sleep on a Floor Tonight
is a conventional record, or at least it’s The Brave Little Abacus’ attempt at a conventional record. I would call it mature, but that tends to be a loaded term which implies inherent superiority against playful, fun, and inventive work. Meditative is a better word, it paints a better picture. The songs on Masked Dancers
take their time, they’re slower, more progressive, and are more about “being there” than “getting there.” The Brave Little Abacus’ three longest tracks can be found on their first full length - they’re long, drawn out, and take their time, but they’re never boring. “A Map of The Stars” is the closest TBLA ever came to a single. The bouncy grooves and energetic vocals display The Brave Little Abacus at their most fun and infectious. After an all over the place demo, and a challenging split, Masked Dancers
is an easy-to-get-into moody, atmospheric change of pace. Masked Dancers
is still weird, there are dialogue samples from the seminal 1988 anime film Akira
in a couple of tracks, and a pitched up yelp used as instrumentation - both are strange and delightful. Masked Dancers
has the least standout moments, but it’s The Brave Little Abacus’ most consistent and focused record. It’s their most relaxed release, and their easiest to get into - if I were to have a glass of wine to any of their records it would be this one.
The Brave Little Abacus was a band perfecting their sound and gearing up to take over the world; Masked Dancers
is an impressive bridge between the band’s early work and their masterpiece second full-length record. The longer songs fully take advantage of TBLA’s curiosity, and their constant changing up of instruments, tones, sounds, and atmospheres.The full band doesn’t come in until the four-minute mark of “I See It too,” and the explosion of sound is well worth the wait. The musical changes from a single chord, to shredding arpeggios and tapping, to acoustic guitar, to a goddamn horn section, all supplemented by inventive keyboard playing, and then back to the one chord and the atmospheric keyboard, and it’s all so fresh, so exciting, so irresistible, but the song’s not over, next comes in one of the best keyboard riffs in emo, and an insane drum beat, and a chord progression that drives me nuts. It’s hard to imagine a band so on top of their game could possibly top a debut like this, but The Brave Little Abacus isn't one to adhere to expectations.