By JASON HARPER
The new Olympic Size limited-run LP You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone is chock full of sexy dread and longing. It should be mass printed and airlifted to those people who live in vast modern apartment complexes by exurban airports and handed out along with frequent flyer programs to lonely traveling businessmen. The music is bleak, bedroomy, warm and twilit, with clean, interweaving guitars, somnabulent keyboards and drums that drop like sleeping pills in a plastic cup. Far from any indie-rock trends and full of spaces, Olympic Size conveys the loneliness and isolation of grown-up single life, a similar territory stalked by the band's recent showmates, American Music Club.
(Continue reading and grab MP3s after the jump.)
The sonic and emotional spine of the KC band's sound is the male-female duet work of singers Billy Smith and Kirsten Paludan, who have been playing many of these songs since sometime around 2005, when the band came together and released an unofficial EP that included some of the songs revamped on You'll Miss Me ("The Hardest Part," "Second Story," and "47th Street" were all on Set Free, if memory serves correctly). Also present is the gorgeous "Friends," which, in an odd but lucky turn, got airtime on the Real World: Sydney.
But for our money, the real jawdropper on You'll Miss Me is track 9, "Whatever Drops, Disappears." Opening with a 3/4 pattern over which vibraphonelike keys, drums, guitar, handclaps and echoing vocals grow and interlock, the song begins with a compositional Chinese box, like something Thomas Newman might have scored for Six Feet Under. The latter half of the song shifts into an expansive 4/4, rushing like the "bullet train" in the lyric, sounding like something off the majestic and underrated B-side of Tears for Fears' The Seeds of Love, which you need to go and listen to now if you've never heard it. But first, listen to these American beauties.
MP3: Olympic Size, "Friends"
MP3: Olympic Size, "Whatever Drops, Disappears"
Catch O-Size live when the group opens for Efterklang at the Record Bar, next Tuesday, June 3.