The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ “Communion” Is The First Great Album of 2009

At last we have the first great album of 2009, and it’s about time, too.  After all, the year’s three weeks old and so far nothing.  Maybe 2009 knows there’s a recession, and it’s getting off to a lazy start.  And no, it’s not the Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion (though as a Washingtonian, I like the title.)  That album is so utterly boring and utterly praised you know it’s going to be #1 on critics’ lists at the end of the year, unless Portishead come out and do a reggae album with Willie Nelson and Radiohead or something.

The Soundtrack of Our Lives are rock classicists, the way Kelley Stoltz is a rock classicist, the way Robert Pollard and Bob Mould are rock classicists.  They understand that the basic form of songwriting created by Ray Davies and Pete Townshend worked pretty well in rock’s Pleistocene Age, and can still serve as a bedrock foundation for whatever ambitions they have.  In this case, Communion is a 24-song double album that has as many adventures as there are hours in the day, as there are plotlines for Jack Bauer.  By turns beautiful, thrilling (cf. “Thrill Me”) and full of freeze-dried fruits from Scandanavia, it’s as impressively structured as the new Swedish Embassy.

Somehow, I don’t think the crowd drooling over Animal Collective is going to go for a band that has Keith Moon drums and power chords.  But down here at Tulip Frenzy World HQ, the gang thinks this is the second best thing that happened this week, following the little changing of the guard on Pennsylvania Avenue.

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