steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Kowtow Popof

"Exalted Headband" CD

Wampus Multimedia

Genre: instrumental pop

Rockville, MD

November 2009

This often-goofy instrumental disc recalls the whimsy of Hot Butter's iconic "Popcorn," what with its eclectic synth melodies and emotionally exaggerated style. At sixteen tracks, Exalted Headband is guilty of being considerably long for what it is (a kooky instrumental-pop album), but from song to song there are several memorable moments to be digested.

I must confess I enjoy opener "Swimming Downhill" and its refreshing medley of cheesy synths, Moby's "Porcelain," and folky guitar strumming. Likewise, the Midwest Sam & Max Hit the Road schmaltz of "Kung Fu Sunset" is gloriously endearing, and "Fractal Dust" is the sort of slow and wistful melody that sounds as if it has been culled from the score of some similarly mellow film. "Children of the Teeth" and "Braids at Blue Hour (Zero Time)" also do not disappoint, in their straight-out-of-the-eighties, Moroder-inspired synth glory. Amid this lengthy record, however, there is a fair share of bland or derivative work ("Deep & Deeper," "Balloon Bazooka"), which bogs things down significantly.

A mixed bag, Exalted Headband may suffer from its own ambition, but there are enough interesting songs here to keep things fairly interesting. Spanning genres seamlessly - from lounge to prog to jazz to techno - Kowtow Popof's diversity of influences helps keep this procession of songs from wearing too thin, making for an original if inconsistent album that should be enjoyed in moderation.

kowtow popof's myspace

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 16 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]