Monday, December 22, 2008

Review: Throw Me the Statue - Moonbeams (* * * *)

Throw Me the Statue is primarily the songwriting vehicle for Scott Reithermann, a multi-instrumentalist who released his first album, Moonbeams, in 2007, which was re-released earlier this year. With help from Pedro the Lion collaborator Casey Foubert and other friends, Reithermann creates a fuzzy, low-key, indie pop sound with a mix of organic and programmed percussion and mostly acoustic guitars behind quirky stories about lust, love, and relationships. Moonbeams is a great record that is frequently impressive and thoroughly enjoyable.

While Throw Me the Statue has a similar feel to other "bedroom pop" artists, Moonbeams is actually a very expansive record for its kind. The album's 13 tracks (50 minutes) cover quite a bit of ground and leave Reithermann plenty of room to explore, though he never wanders too far. Opener "Young Sensualists," with Casio beats and droning keys sounds minimal and enclosed, as do several tracks near the end of the album, like the quiet "Written In Heart Signs, Faintly" and "The Happiest Man On This Plane." Although he certainly deserves the spotlight for his strong songwriting capabilities, Reithermann is wise to include the talents of other musicians on Moonbeams. Many of the upbeat and fun tunes on the album feel more like the work of a full band and are better for it.

The first single, "Lolita" adds some percussion (drums, hand claps, etc.) for a sunny, breezy sound, "Groundswell" features electric guitars and horns in the album's most direct pop rock moment, and "Yucatan Gold" includes a rock 'n' roll guitar riff and pounding beats. The "group" sound works on the quieter, more pensive cuts as well. Perhaps the most arresting and sincere song on the album is "Conquering Kids," a gently flowing piece reminiscent of Benoit Pioulard or Peter Broderick. With beautiful, spacey harmonies and wistful lyrics, Reithermann shows he can tug at your heartstrings just well as he can throw a party.

Moonbeams is an exciting debut album not only because of the many standout moments contained therein, but also because it shows Reithermann's ambition and potential. I think we can expect big things from this promising new artist.

Check out Throw Me the Statue's MySpace page