Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Very Most "Congratulations Forever" Album Review

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 The Very Most "Congratulations Forever" Album Review
8/16/08 - Score - 82%
Buy "Congratulations Forever"
Congratulations Forever is the name of the new album from The Very Most, and there's a lot to like. Boy/girl vocals, rhodes piano, violin, ukelele, sleigh bells, hand claps.. need I go on? Personally, I'm sold. But if that's not enough for you, dear reader, allow me to elaborate.

The Very Most is a quartet from Boise, Idaho and the brainchild of Jeremy Jensen who's also a computer programmer, husband, father of 3, and grad student. What?! Yes. A modern day Renaissance man. The band has just released a shimmering new aforementioned album, the title taken from a framed piece of congratulatory art sent to Jeremy by his sister and former accomplice in music, Rachel Jensen (Parenthetical Girls).

Jensen seems to be at core a songwriter, with a knack for writing catchy pop melodies and winsome lyrics. The album begins with "ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo" and blows up into 13 tracks of super sunny-day melodies that lean heavily on folk influences while giving nods to both electronica and straight ahead rock and roll baby.

I'm telling you, this record is going to make you want to swing on swing sets and spin around in circles. You'll be high in the sky and dizzy with delight by the time the last note rolls out. No drugs involved!

My only complaint here is Jensen's voice, which reminds me of Cat Stevens or Wayne Coyne (pre-The Soft Bulletins), both of which give me the creeps. And not in a good way. However, even as I say that, I know many of you will see that as a plus. To each his own! It just doesn't do it for this girl who graduated from The School of Gibbard. Which reminds of the few times in this record when Jensen goes into his falsetto, a place he'd do best to steer clear from. But never you mind, there is plenty on Congratulations Forever to distract from the vox (if you don't like it), for example, umm, 33 instruments. Mhmm! It's safe to say you'll be thoroughly entertained.

And while we're talking numbers, let's not fail to mention the 24 individuals who contributed on this record! Who has 24 friends, let alone 24 that play instruments?! ... Let alone 24 friends that include Kris Doty, John McMahon (Built to Spill), Jonah Shue (Frim Fram Fellas), and Elijah Jensen (The Unicorn Feather).

I don't know who this guy is, but he's popular and the music he makes is very likable, and chances are, he's onto something.

The Very Most's Congratulations Forever was recorded over the course of 4 years and hit streets on April 23, 2008 via Coming In Second Records. Packaging for the record was printed at Stumptown Printers in Portland.

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