Eight Places At Once represents a new milestone for this Los Angeles-based duo whose history is already studded with countless highlights. Timed for release exactly one year to the day after classy chanteuse Doily Chic and her oddly-named collaborator Schmoofball first formed the band, the album is both a reflection of the pair’s effortless chemistry and an essay on how to successfully unite indie pop and death metal without coming across as contrived.
The introductory track of Eight Places At Once filters Bach’s Invention No. 13 in A Minor through the soft crackle of an old Victrola recording, before giving way to tape hiss that soon overcomes the refined classical piano piece. It’s tempting to read the arc of Chic and Schmoofball’s personal involvement into this sonic narrative – wistful nostalgia eclipsed by signs of emotional uncertainty, mirroring the tumultuous early days of the pair’s timeless romance but any straightforward interpretation falls apart by the next track, which finds “Kol Nidre,” a solemn liturgical piece traditionally sung on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, translated into a giddy dance soaked in strings and flutes and timpani drums.
The rest of Eight Places At Once is an emotionally diverse affair songs like “Panda Cam” and “Crab Cakes” (which features Chic softly chanting the title mantra) are quirky expressions of pure joy, while both “Search and Seizure ” and the forty-five minute “Schmoofball Goes to the CD Store” stir up insane amounts of tension that dissipate only after the song is over.
Flowing through the entire album like two intertwining threads are the yin and yang personalities of these two creative personalities. Chic’s seemingly unconditional sweetness is infectious, and it’s a pleasure to listen to her pitch-perfect voice, even in the somewhat repetitive “Hmmm, What To Order From the Thai Restaurant?” Schmoofball’s analytical lyrics are less immediately engaging on an emotional level but his grounded, calming vocals and horrendous puns have a familiar charm to them you get the sense that he’s already training to be an uncle.
Most of all, Chic and Schmoofball are clearly in awe of each other as creative collaborators. What could have been some indulgent musical PDA is an enormously gratifying work of art, far better than either of their solo albums, and a love letter to love itself. Only time will tell what Doily Chic and the Precious Moments will do for their next go-round, and that’s part of the wonder of it the album from the vantage point of Eight Places At Once, this duo could go anywhere.
Doily Chic on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/amyomusic
Schmoofball on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/narfman