Do you like the English band The Cardiacs? You do? Good. Now give Bubblemath a try.
Not unlike their British predecessors, Bubblemath provides a vocal-oriented avant-pop / progressive rock with punk and Zappa influences, as well as more time changes than you can count. Edit Peptide, their second album, comes after what appears to be an unintentional 15-year hiatus. In any event, it is good to have them back.
The lineup is of the classic type: vocals, guitars, keys, bass, and drums, with all contributors adding backing vocals. Bubblemath also makes use of unusual instrumentation for a rock band: chimes, gong, glockenspiel, xylophone, dulcimer, mandolin, and banjo. Regardless, they will not let you forget that they are a rock band. That said, the aforementioned time changes come at you left and right, even mid-verse. And the song structure eschews convention, offering little repetition, and few choruses per se. The feel of the music is oftentimes a modern take on 70’s prog rock. The long solos are taken out and replaced with a sense of urgency, odd lyrical social commentaries, slick general weirdness, and more than a little fun.
Cuneiform Records has, of late, done a wonderful job putting out these advanced-but-accessible recordings. Even though they do not sound similar, Edit Peptide is a nice follow-on to last year’s Cuneiform release from Bent Knee.