William the Accountant, “Strophes”
If Talking Heads circa “Stop Making Sense” was a little less world beat and a lot more ska, they’d be William the Accountant. That seems like condemnation because, ska? And yes, all that skittering and skanking can get hokey, but they make it palatable by making mincemeat of expectations. Six-minute “Science and Synapse” delves into gleaming art-rock, xx-inspired gloom and “Bends”-era Radiohead guitar theatrics. Then again, “134,” sounds like David Byrne and Incubus’ answer to “Lulu.” (Self-aware lyric: “In about 10 years I will regret this song.”) The Byrne imitation is blatant, and their approach can be clunky. But it works surprisingly often, congealing into a fascinating open volley from a unique presence in Columbus music. They play Kobo this Friday to celebrate the release.
The Spruce Campbells, “A Steady Diet of Maritime Snow”
“Maritime Snow” is the final piece in a long-developing mosaic, namely the Spruce Campbells EP collection that will be combined into one sprawling 25-song set later this spring. For now, enjoy these four tracks as a standalone document. Here the group dabbles in post-Blur skewed anglophilia before trodding familiar territory: prog-pop built around humongous gang choruses, riding the dynamic contrast between Chelsea Moore’s sweet salve and Jason Matthew Kusowski’s lumbering giant. In the end they land one Slash solo short of “November Rain.”
Dave Buker and the Historians, “Say Ave.”
Dave Buker keeps stepping up his songwriting game. “Say Ave.” is built on rich, well-structured electro-chamber pop, each track boasting rich arrangements and invigorated performances from Buker’s band. In particular, “On Your Arm” stomps like never before. That’s stupendous news, but don’t rejoice just yet. Your enjoyment of Buker’s music hinges on your tolerance for his vocals, which sometimes plunge into cloying sub-Gibbardry. To these ears, a jolt of testosterone would lift Buker’s otherwise excellent recordings out of the lullaby zone and into full-on splendor.