Princess Music's members all hail from various chamber orchestras, which would lead you to believe that their debut would be a collection of classical recordings. The album cover, however, seems to suggest something else entirely--it looks like it'd be more at home on the cover of a kitschy indie rock album than that of a classical quintet. But that's exactly what makes this album so fascinating; equal parts classical crossover and indie pop goodness, Odobenidae is a true diamond in the rough.
True to its artwork, Odobenidae is an excessively bubblegummy indie album. But far from standing in shame of it, Princess Music embrace their inner child head-on, writing infectiously catchy pop tunes that, surprisingly, never become tired. Princess Music seem to believe so heavily in what they're doing that it supports the music well beyond its intended expiration, resulting in songs that not only feel good to listen to, but force you to hear more.
But true to their heritage, Odobenidae is also a contemporary classical album. The band delight in their classical training, taking otherwise standard compositions and breathing fresh, intriguing life into them with talent that can only come from years of chamber experience. Though there might be an electric guitar and drum kit in the mix, there's no denying that the underlying compositions are all classical in origin, seemingly retrofitted to the rock instrumentation.
What's really scary is how brilliantly this combination works. Though its origins seem antithetical in nature, the album yet possesses the insistent enjoyability of pop music and the intellectual stimulation of classical music, all the while never seeming to compromise either vision in favour of the other. They basically have their cake and eat it, too. What's more, the album isn't even half an hour long--and that's much to its benefit. Princess Music have enough space to explore their delightfully executed aesthetic without reaching a point of oversaturation, meaning that, at the end of the album, they leave on just as welcome a note as they begin. While there's something to be said for using all eighty minutes on a disc, there's also respect to be given for knowing when enough is enough, and Princess Music know how to leave a good lasting impression.
It's not that I think the album is tired--Princess Music probably could've played another ten minutes and still done wonderfully--but the quality of the music is so improbably concentrated that I'm almost convinced they wrote a full forty minute album and then cut out the inevitable ten minutes of chaff. A release that stays this consistently strong throughout just seems statistically improbable; but then again, good on them for making an album that isn't longer than it needs to be. Odobenidae is a rare treat; a quirky, valuable release that never seems to go stale. This album won't be leaving my rotation for years.
9.0 / 10
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