4ad / Ada
Dinosaurs are truly fascinating creatures.As a youth, I was an enthusiast. I wanted to be a paleontologist, and of course, I watched the animated movie We’re Back: a Dinosaur’s Tale. A captivating story about a New York pre-teen befriending a pack of talking dinosaurs who traveled into the future with the help of tiny aliens was naturally appealing to an over-imaginative little boy. We’re Back creeped the crap out of me. There was an evil magician with a screw for an eye who ran a sort of neo-goth freak out circus and brainwashed the amiable dinosaurs. Listening to Celebration’s self titled debut felt just like being a scared child at this fear-circus.
Celebration is the newest project from the Baltimore couple of Katrina Ford and Sean Antanaitis, formerly of the noise-punk band Jaks. Ford’s distinctive voice has appeared on some tracks of everyone’s favorite indie group-TV on The Radio. David Sitek (TVOR member/ producer) produced while the other members helped out on a smattering of tracks. Don’t think this is some TV clone though; it’s a lot more chaotic, crazy and not nearly as good.
Intense tribal-like beats accompany every song, as does an old carnival organ. The album would nicely accompany a chase scene; the helpless protagonist speeding away from an insane Circus Ringleader, floating and
fluorescent, bathed in black light and surrounded by smoke. The opening track “War” mimics a bloodthirsty commander (Bush…!?) shouting that he has more guns than anyone. Ford’s rough, masculine voice is like Chan Marshall on steroids. This unique sound, however, loses its initial intrigue as the album progresses.
“Foxes” and “Lost Souls” go on for too long, and despite the pounding drums and howling voices, they become boring. A couple other tracks have similar effects; it’s fun for a while, but only in small doses. This album could put you to sleep after a while. There are some standouts though, like “Diamonds” and “China.” These are the only tracks that display a particular amount of depth and movement. Diamonds is a rock ballad that sounds like a live track from a skeleton-operated cabaret. China is as poppy as Celebration gets, with a happy synth line backing the vocals.
Celebration is scary, dancey, and original. It is reminiscent of Quintron and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs in its best moments, and makes you want to curl up in your bed and die at its worst. It’s a well put-together album, but lacks a lot of replay value. Appearing on shuffle mode on your iPod would be a mega mood killer. I just hope no talking dinosaurs were harassed or abused in the making of this album.