Foam Castles

Tyler Jackson of Foam Castles. photo/D.J. Moore

Foam Castles
Come Over to My House
Peapod Recordings

Click to hear: “Horticulture Friends

Foam Castles’ new EP is a brief detour off the indie-rock path and into the realm of electronic music. Fans of the band will dig it, but this weird little record is unlikely to convert the house-music crowd to Foam Castles’ righteous cause.

Tyler Jackson, the creative force behind FC, has displayed a taste for cool loops and dance beats on his previous, more rock-oriented albums — see “Eastern Drawl” and “Blue Toyota” from Night Crawling, and “Took It Home” from Molly’s Jungle — so House isn’t too surprising. But it is surprisingly strange.

The first track, “Horticulture Friends,” is the most accessible, a head-bobber with a sleek beat courtesy of drummer D.J. Moore and some choice guitar licks by Jackson and Landy Shores.

The next track — whoa, wait a second. Landy Shores? Yup, that Landy Shores, guitarist in the obscure but influential ’70s funk/jazz band RAMP, which is getting a second life these days thanks to the appreciation of admirers like Erykah Badu and A Tribe Called Quest. Jackson apparently got Shores to contribute to this EP by simply contacting him and asking him to play on it. Makes you wonder what other crazy collaborations could happen if people just picked up the phone.

Anyway, after “Friends,” House gets trippy and never comes down. “The Red Now” is an aural hallucination haunted by former Honey Clouds bassist Mandy Wheeler’s vocals and layers of Jackson’s art-damaged computer programming. The disorienting “Walking Through the Desert” sounds like the side effect of severe dehydration. “Hero Island Short” is a beat-less enigma — Wheeler sings lyrics you can’t quite discern over swelling tones and spacey tinkles, then the song just floats away.

A full-length return to rock is expect from Foam Castles later this year. In the meantime, put this one on your tongue and see what happens.

— Chris Busby

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