Entertainment Magazine

Emil and Friends’ Lo & Behold [8.5]

Posted on the 14 October 2011 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

artworks 000009304978 iedg62 original 1024x968 550x519 EMIL AND FRIENDS LO & BEHOLD [8.5]

Crystal Ball – Emil & Friends

Emil & Friends’ (@emilandfriends) Lo & Behold, the brainchild of Emil Yves Hewitt and his “friends” (Alex, Steve and Dan), is erratic at its core. With shifts in tone and instrumentation often occurring midway through songs, each track acts almost as an album within itself. This great depth of variety and bold structure, though, are exactly where this band’s strengths lie. The sense of humor, musicality and unique execution of Lo & Behold make it truly stand out. Even the lyrics, a product of particularly crazy frontman Emil (who has a superhero alter ego), sound as though they’re from another planet, putting Emil & Friends an enormous step above the standard “indie pop” bands.

Despite this overall distinction, though, Lo & Behold actually begins on a relatively pop-friendly note, offering a catchy piano/synth hook with some cutesy, harmonized “oh’s” from the vocalist. About a minute and a half into “Flashback”, however, thick beats and a more electronic sound take over, proving that they’re capable of much more. Even more surprising, only a minute after that, Queen-worthy guitar riffs emerge — pretty unexpected and absolutely amazing. As this song and the next few passed, I felt more and more as though I’d entered a strange, fluctuating dream world.

Not until the sixth track, though, did this truly click — Lo & Behold is HILARIOUS. “C.U.P.I.D.” sounds like a bump and grind song circa 2002 in the best way possible (I half expected Usher to jump in for one of the verses). This track also proved my theory that spelling-based lyrics are absolute gold. With lines like, “C-U-P-I-D, king of all the ladies” and an embarrassingly catchy melody, there is really nothing to dislike about this song. The following track, “Rain Check”, boasts the upbeat appeal of songs like Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True”. The cascade of trumpets, drums, synths, bass, saxophones, flutes, trombones, guitars etc. etc. created a wonderful cacophony that automatically put a smile on my face. Not only perfect for orange mocha frappuccinos and serious gasoline fights (Zoolander anyone?), it’s a great example of the incredible arrangements featured on the album.

By this point, the Lo & Behold has taken us through pop, rock, r&b and disco, making it pretty much impossible to simply label it as “indie pop”. In addition to genre bending, part of the album’s brilliance and depth stems the balance between “everything but the kitchen sink” songs like “Rain Check” and the subtle, laidback songs like “Perscriptions”. Tracks which feature more organic sounds like “Ali Baba”, “Endless Waves” and “Perscriptions” allow those that are more electronic and intricate the space to breathe and expand.

Lo & Behold closes out with the title track, which sums up this balance. Equal parts acoustic guitars, drums, flutes, synths and whimsy (the backbone of all previous tracks), “Lo & Behold” encapsulates the catchy hooks which the band seems to have a knack for. When listening to this album, do so with an open mind, a sense of humor and a heart ready to be won over.


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