I feel like I put too much pressure on myself to think of a witty beginning for when I review albums and when I can’t think of one, I get frustrated and give up on the review altogether. So here’s my non-witty intro to reviewing Tuxedo Cake’s ‘Paradox’ because, well, I want to check this EP out and won’t let anything stop me from doing just that and filling you in on all of my thoughts about this EP.
The title track kicks this quick five-song EP off in a very chill way. I don’t know if it’s the actual sound of this opening track or me staring into the album cover but it has a very surf rock vibe about it to the point where I could almost taste the salt in the air and feel the sand in my toes. Although this opening song is absolutely cool, calm, and collected, there’s something super commanding about the vocals that take over the track within the first minute. They aren’t aggressive but they do demand your attention instantly and that demand only grows as the track hits the 1:20 moment where you get a taste of angst in the vocals. The constant pull between the angst and chill vibes in this track made the four-minute song fly by and, before I knew it, the album had moved on to “Egocentric”.
“Egocentric” instantly changed everything I had assumed about this band. Dropping the chill surf rock vibe, this song comes in with a super danceable and infectious beat with electronic sounds taking over. A catchy bassline throughout this track helps drive it forward and, again, makes the track feel way shorter than it actually is. Although this is completely stylistically different from “Paradox”, the almost grainy recording quality and distinct angst-drenched vocals that still remain somehow positive upbeat, and clear make it clear that this song is from Tuxedo Cake.
The electronic influence continues into “Oscar” but there seems to be a more tender sentiment in the vocals which makes this track feel a bit closer to “Paradox” than “Egocentric”. Even with hearing a slight sense of heartbreak with each passing word, there’s that undeniable sense of power throughout this track that Tuxedo Cake does so well and effortlessly. It’s one of those elements that I could try to put into words but those words will not do it justice. “Oscar” may be a super depressing song lyrically but this was an instant favorite of mine just due to the sheer power and this undeniable balance of so many opposites from the dancey beat to the depressing lyrics to the almost bluesy solo towards the end of the track that ends in a musical screech– “Oscar” is just pure genius and is a great example of Tuxedo Cake as a whole.
“Lover Boi” was a close second for my favorite track on this quick EP. Another super catchy and infectious track but with a little bit more emphasis on the surf rock vibe of the band, “Lover Boi” is one of those tracks that will get stuck in your head even if you just hear it in passing once. There’s something super familiar about the overall composition of this track but it’s so hard to pinpoint what that something is. Maybe it’s the guitar tone, maybe it’s the retro-tinged vocals and hazy drums behind everything– regardless, let me know if you can pinpoint an influence in this track. it’s right on the tip of my tongue but every band name that comes out doesn’t seem to compare in the right way.
Closing out this great EP is “Lost My Board”. At just under three minutes, this is the shortest track on the release but it absolutely packs a punch. A little bit more of a garage-punk influence than the previous four tracks, this was another one that was in the running for my favorite track on the album. I almost wish I had gotten more of this aggressive edge from the band on the other tracks but I guess it’s just their way of making me want to spend the rest of my day digging into their other releases (and it’s going to work!). Although punky and aggressive, there’s an accessible sense of power in this track that keeps this track feeling anthemic and almost commercial in a way without being generic or even predictable. What a perfect ending to a flawless album.
My Favorite Track(s): “Oscar”
For Fans Of: Surfy and Infectious Vibes; Angsty Words; Perfection
Mosh-ability: 6 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie slept on the couch; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8.5 out of 10
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