Record of the Week: The Cool Greenhouse: S/T LP
This week's Record of the Week is the debut LP from the Cool Greenhouse!
The Cool Greenhouse: S/T 12” (Melodic Records) It’s no secret that we love the Cool Greenhouse here at Sorry State, and I was eagerly anticipating their first proper album after a string of great singles and EPs. I would have been happy with a Cool Greenhouse LP that was just more of the same, but they’ve changed things up a bit for the album. While the instrumentation on their earlier releases was minimal and mostly electronic (drum machines and Casio-style bleep bloops forming the biggest part), this album sounds more like a live band playing in a room, and the vibe suits them well, even if the vocals don’t pop as much. The songwriting and arranging style is very much the same, though. The Cool Greenhouse’s songs coalesce around simple grooves that the players improvise around while frontman Tom Greenhouse does his thing over top. While the songs don’t have distinct parts, it’s interesting to hear the players react to one another, particularly how they will often mark when Tom returns to a refrain with a complimentary instrumental flourish. It’s not unlike the way Miles Davis’s music worked in the 70s, or what Can did, but infused with the angularity of post-punk. Along with the instrumental changes, Tom’s lyrics are also developing. Rather than relying exclusively on wry social observation and satire (though there’s still plenty of that here), there are detours into the absurd and the surreal that feel like a writer exploring the boundaries of what is possible. If you come to the Cool Greenhouse for the lulz, though, there are plenty of those too, from one-liners like “dicks out for old Harambe” to more extended flights of fancy like when Tom reveals the Cool Greenhouse’s real purpose is to provide a glasses cleaning service. (Eyeglasses or drinking glasses? Answer unclear.) If you couldn’t tell by how much I’ve written here, I’m enamored with this album. It’s everything I wanted and so much more, reminding me of why I invest so much time into searching for new music… because there are gems like this out there, just waiting to be discovered and loved.