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Psychology
Artist: Discover America
Label: Tooth and Nail Records

Let’s play a word association game. I’m going to mention two names, and I want you to say out loud the first thing that comes to your mind.

Number One: Billy Corgan

Number Two: Paul McCartney

Now, if you answered “Zwan” to the first one and “Wings” to the second one, I believe it is a safe bet to say that you are one of the very few. 

So what would happen if I said “Chris Staples?”

OK, I will grant you the fact that twothirtyeight never had no where near the same fame as Smashing Pumpkins or The Beatles. Until recently, though, Staples and twothirtyeight seemed to go in hand. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or peas and carrots. But alas, all good things must come to an end.  

And Discover America came along.

I have to be honest, I bought this album off of iTunes for one reason: to bash it. I know, I know, that’s extremely unethical for a reviewer to do (especially when he has never heard one of the songs), but I still recall the heartbreak I felt in 2003 when I heard that twothirtyeight broke up.  And this new project almost felt like a Yoko to my John. 

I know. 

It’s been two years.

I should get over it.

But whether I would like to admit it or not, this album is simply mind-blowing. Listening to it over and over again proves that there is simply very little to say against this album. And what criticisms one may have is really not even worth mentioning.

The music, for one, is incredible. The crunching guitars in “1986,” the techno/hip-hop drum loops in “Green Eyes” and “Shiny Teeth,” and the weird but somehow fitting instrumental arrangements in “From the 100th Floor” are well deserving of repeated play time in your stereo. 

But the best part of this album is the lyrics. It’s interesting to listen to them and try and figure out how objective Staples is really being, if at all.

Take this line from the song “Stark Honesty”:

If you want to be great when you're not even good, 
You've got to strive to be misunderstood
Or how about this from “Call It In The Air”:
They say the more you love the less you know 
And there are places we should never go 
And things I should not have to know about
Or even the other line from the same song:
You’re so in love but can’t commit
But the quintessential line, the one that seems to describe the whole album, is this one in “From the 100th Floor”:
 Welcome to my little bubble don't want to cause no trouble 
Don't want no complications, not fond of confrontations 
Welcome to my little bubble, I'm gonna share it with you
And, essentially, that is what Chris Staples is doing. He is sharing his world of music with us. It’s a world that is upbeat, fresh and (thankfully) less “emo” than his earlier projects.

Is it OK to call this indie rock album beautiful?

Even though I’m a guy?

Adam Duckworth 7/24/2004
 


Chris Staples is back at it again. The former member of yesteryear underground darlings, twothirtyeight is back a second time since the twothirtyeight demise. First he went solo under his own name and now he is back on Tooth and Nail Records as Discover America. DA is slightly reminiscent of Cake with the vocal qualities and has that weird syncapation with the sampling and the instruments. Lyrically Chris writes about spiritual life, a few wonders of love (friends and others), and he also touches the surface of psychological thought. Nasaly vocals, toe tapping music, and lyrics that a person can understand, if you were a fan of twothirtyeight, look into this band. They've got that same raw, slightly weird, and catchy musical feel as twothirtyeight did. Artistically the layout seems to point towards the different waves of thought, ideals, or Psychology of America.

Get the chance to Discover America (yeah my pun is lame, I know... I know).

Len Nash  7/24/2005


 
 
 

 

 
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