If you have never heard the melodic sound of a musical saw, you wouldn’t be the first.
The DIY styling of indie-folk strummers Gibbons and the Sluts have managed to combine the ethereal sound of this instrument along with nonsensical lyricism on their debut album, “Mama’s Milk.”
On its surface, the album has taken a bold step by offering audiences puzzling tales of sailing ships and creatures from other planets that may prompt the question of whether or not there is rational thought behind these lyrics.
Pinning down the intent of each song would be hazardous to the listening experience as it is meant to conjure different ideas from each listener. “Mama’s Milk” draws inspiration from underground indie groups like Neutral Milk Hotel, The Dead Milkmen and similar bands from the Elephant 6 Recording Company.
Currently based in Los Angeles, Gibbons and The Sluts are fronted by Cody McCune (known by band mates and fans as Money Gibbons), who got his start playing music in Bakersfield and previously played guitar for local indie rockers Russians with Rayguns.
His band mates Vita Khachaturyan on trumpet and accordion, Julie Orlick on clarinet and trumpet, Mateo Katez on drums and bassist Stanislaus Dyro are primarily from the L.A. area.
The album opens with “Sailing Towards a Perfect Sun,” a mellow tune spanning just over a minute in length with McCune on vocals accompanied by his banjo and the accordion. The track, “Sailing Towards a Perfect Home” may be similar in name, but different in style with hints of what most would consider traditional Greek music.
The musical saw makes its debut on the tune, “Veggie Encounter with Water Dripping from Faucet,” one of the many titles off of the album seemingly presented as a joke (that we just may never understand).
It should not distract from the song comprised of the saw instrument played with a violin bow that emits a sound much like an opera singer during a particularly emotional performance.
The album was recorded at a home studio, which is typically expected from underground groups of this genre. The amateur record production gave it a raw edge that would have not otherwise been present had it been slickly produced and mixed in a studio setting.
If the thought process of the album could be explained, it may sound something like the lyrics, “I have a spiraling mind/It makes sense I could see once/But now I’ve turned blind,” from the particularly upbeat and blissful song, “Mutiny Against King Jupiter.” It holds its own as one of the better tracks off of the album along with “The Misleading Wind Mislead,” a trumpet driven song only 30 seconds in length but nonetheless an interesting piece of work.
While there may not be a consistent theme overall, the reoccurring ideas of the planet Jupiter and sailing make this a fun record.
Plans to release hard copies of this album are in the works, but in its current form fans of the underground indie scene can find their work available for download online.