The Books are a tough band to describe, so I’ll just tell you what they do. Using found audio, video, home-made instruments, standard instruments, and a lot of digital tweaking, they create haunting, aggressive, humorous, moving, and transcendent music.
Though they do a lot with collage, the results seldom come off artificial and electronic. Their sound is…and I’m not trying to be pretentious here, it’s actually the best word I know for it…tactile, with sharp, solid sounds. The results are songs that feel like items found in an attic or antique store which have been constructed of familiar materials but whose purpose is unknown.
Their new album is called The Way Out, and it actually expands their style a bit as they wander into fairly familiar territory. “I Didn’t Know That” is pretty rocking for them, “All You Need Is a Wall” is a pretty straightforward tune, and my favorite track on the album, “We Bought the Flood” could easily have come off of a Wilco album.
But most of the album is what listeners have come to expect, probably best exemplified by “A Cold Freezin’ Night“.
The Way Out is available at all your favorite online music outlets, as well as from their label, Temporary Residence.
If you have a chance to catch The Books live, DO SO. The audio is only half the performance, as they employ video as well.
As a bonus, the band have started a blog where they also go through the album song by song and describe the creative process behind each one.