Making a name is a big deal in the music business.Once you get that name recognition, you can usually live off it for at least a little while, and maybe even help out some other artists. (I mean, I’m sure D12 would still be a big hit without Eminem, but still …) Audio Out Send apparently hasn’t learned this lesson. Beginning their journey nearly ten years ago in Davis, California as Dr. Teeth, they relocated to Oakland and changed their name to Lazybones. After building a solid fan base in the Bay Area, they changed their name again. And with their new moniker in place, they’re primed for the success that’s bound to follow after …Or Does It Explode? catches on.
Explode waltzes from dreamy pop to, well, dreamy pop across its thirty-eight minutes, and though it isn’t new territory, they’ve stomped their footprints on this ground firmly enough to take the next step. From wandering keyboard fills to reverb-heavy guitars, the quartet meticulously builds a delicate wall of sound on every track. Instead of dissolving into an oppressive fog, however, Audio Out Send manages to guide its tunes toward some great melodies, such as the infectious, if somewhat nonsensical “Radio Elevator Rising.” The lyrics have an abstract simplicity, and Ben Jennings delivers them with a graceful voice, making lines like, “Rolling heads/ and broken bones/ I might just have a mind to do some rolling of my own,” more inviting than frightening.
The record is full of sleepy, hazy tones, but a lack of variety drags it down on the way to the finish. The understated melancholia that pervades almost every song is endearing at first, but after some time, it begins to wear thin, and you end up wishing that something would just happen. But with perfect, cascading drums, solid song structures and clean yet fuzzy production, the album has more than its fair share of sunlight. Audio Out Send has the ability to drop a pop gem in the future; I just hope they stick with this name, so tracking it down won’t be impossible.