Very rarely can one album sum up both the creative strengths and weaknesses of a particular milieu, but the members of Hooray For Earth somehow manage to do it over their six-song EP debut, Momo. One of the most intriguing debut EPs released in recent memory, Momo is as exciting as it is more frequently maddening. The counter-productive schizophrenia of Momo both embraces the advanced, nuanced pop rhythmic and musical quality that’s come out of New York City lately, but the EP is too often mucked by a pointless need to experiment that’s a product of the same culture.
With the band members of Hooray For Earth looking like they could easily be featured on lookatthisfuckinghipster, it’s not surprising that Animal Collective is one of the first things that comes up with when searching for an easy comparison. Whether or not you consider that comparison a good thing, the musical joyousness of the “Surrounded By Your Friends” and “Comfortable, Comparable” are difficult to dispute, leaning on the “pop” end of “dream pop,” with rhythms evolved way beyond normal for a debut EP.
Things take a turn on “Get Home” and especially “Scaling,” two tracks of pointless filler and noisy experiments that go nowhere. These wouldn’t really feel at home on an full-length album; they more closely resemble the 20 minutes of Sung Tongs you now skip through (a section that included “Visiting Friends”). A middle ground is somewhat regained by “Form,” which improves the most on repeated listens, and things get a little more danceable with legitimately interesting experimentation on “Rolling/Nectarine.”
It should be noted that the lyrics of “Surrounded by Your Friends,” match up almost one-to-one with the lyrics of the closing song in Dewey Cox, but without the irony or any allusions to family (the value of which is easy to overlook in the bromantic world of young people in New York City). What’s notable is both that at least three songs on Momo are fantastic, and four successfully convert the music that was once described by Robert Christgau as meant to “lure the co-eds” into a legitimately all-inclusive pop direction. The frustrations are more pronounced given the rest of the good stuff to be found, and the lack of anything interesting to say lyrically doesn’t help (but is more forgivable for a young band). From this point on, the less Animal Collective the members of Hooray for Earth listen to, the better.