Citay - "Careful With That Hat" (Dream Get Together)
It’s easy to forget how much art and science can go into airy, breezy confections like Dream Get Together. Though effortless pleasure for the listener, the album is the result of rigorous calculations and precise combinations. Its guitar patterns, layered four or five to a track in intricate interlocking patterns, may sound like rustic III-era Zeppelin, Laurel Canyon folk pop, or free-wheeling Allman Brothers jams, but that’s the curtain, not the mad scientist scurrying behind it. Rarely has so much effort gone into anything that sounded this easy.
Consider, for instance, the opener “Careful with that Hat.” On its surface, a barefoot, sand-speckled California daydream, nothing to prove, only the slackest of hippie maracas keeping time. But take apart the track piece by piece, and you’ll notice a twitchy bass, acoustic strums, arching rays of synth and thick ribbons of distorted electric guitar, and that’s just a start. The sonic space in this track – defined by Citay’s Ezra Feinberg and producer Tim Green – is clean and bright and airy enough to allow all these threads to weave and twine without tangling. You can hear everything, one sound at a time, but why would you want to? The euphoria comes from the way disparate tones harmonize and annotate, contradict and underline one another in ceaselessly shifting striations.
Feinberg has been running a smart, talented jam band for some time now, and in a way, Dream Get Together is just Little Kingdom with a more pronounced glide at the end of each step. The subtle pulse, the luminous jangle, the soaring lead of “Secret Breakfast” is much the same as Little Kingdom’s “Eye on the Dollar.” It just kicks a little stronger and lands a bit further.
All that ambition doesn’t mean the band can’t lay off when it needs to. On “Mirror Kisses,” the album’s purest, simplest cut Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus takes the lead, and the band seems to fall back into a stupor, hypnotized, possibly, by the cool, sleepy lines of her song, A bit of guitar jangle pushes up under her voice, a subliminal rumble of bass, but mostly, notes are allowed to ripen, carry and decay slowly, on their own terms. On a record that runs a flag of hedonism over brainy complications, here is the real thing, swooning, wordless and headily scented.