It used to be standard practice for a band to go into a fancy studio and spend months crafting an album, making sure every note was pitch perfect, every sound and background noise was intentional.
But then the indie generation brought rough edges back into vogue.
On first listen, the self-titled debut from Boise's Space Car sounds like it takes DIY a step further, simply plopping a microphone down into the middle of a drinking session or a backyard campfire and hitting "record."
"Me and Jonesy / we got tunes, yeah / and we really aren't that bad," Space Car sings on the opening track, "Let's Go 2 a Show."
"Pamelamalamalama Anderson / I just need those panties in my muthalovin' mouth now," they sing on "Pamelama."
To say Tenacious D is an influence might already be the understatement of the young year.
However, further listening makes it clear the mildly comical, occasionally crass acoustic guitar-based shoutalongs are anything but accidental.
The songs are tied together with a series of skits presenting the album like a radio show, taking calls and answering questions with songs. The clap-and-shaker percussion is just where it needs to be, and there is only a din of background chatter when the band wants it there. Though Space Car sings that its songs "really aren't that bad," I'd argue some of them are actually quite good.
The band's members spent months honing their sound, not in clubs or a studio, but busking on the streets of Old Town Boise. And the album matches that sound and vibe of having to compete for attention against street noise and alcohol with nothing but personality.
However, the limited instrumentation and numerous skits start to get a little tedious as the album goes on, especially with repeated listening.
Because music is funny, doesn't mean it's a joke. And the fundamentals of the songs on Space Car's debut are stronger than many of the jokes. But the overall presentation of the album comes across more as a piece of long-form comedy than a musical album, something that works better in some places than others.