Scene Creamers - I suck On That Emotion LP
Quite possibly the most focused and accessible batch of songs that Ian Svenonius and Michelle Mae have released, their Scene Creamers debut, I Suck on That Emotion, offers a streamlined version of the sexy, ironic rock the duo forged as part of the legendary Make-Up. While the Make-Up usually reserved their catchiest songs for their singles (as evinced by the excellent I Want Some collection) and used their albums as a forum for their more subversive, psychedelic side, I Suck on That Emotion is so tight that it almost sounds like a singles collection itself. Of course, when it comes to music that Svenonius and Mae create, adjectives like "tight" and "focused" are relative terms; this album still features bluesy noodling, in the form of "What About Me?," as well as acid rock tangents like "One Stone." But on the majority of I Suck on That Emotion, Scene Creamers are remarkably on-point, especially when compared to Weird War, the somewhat disappointing supergroup that featured Mae, Svenonius, and Royal Trux's Neil Hagerty. The album's highlights -- like the wah-wah-tastic "Better All the Time"; the dreamy, unabashedly pretty "Candidate"; and the equally sexy and silly, Hendrix-tinged "Elfin Orphan" -- are near-perfect blends of underground cool and pop polish that rival the Make-Up's finest singles. Fortunately, Scene Creamers didn't get rid of any of the sharp humor, paranoia, or irony of Svenonius and Mae's previous band to achieve this accessibility; on the knowing "Session Man," Svenonius paints a portrait of a disenfranchised musician and a music industry that will "capitalize on the callous of my hands" -- it could be a political allegory, it could be skewering that tendency in Svenonius' music, or (probably) both. Likewise, the dry sense of humor that has marked Mae and Svenonius' collaborations is much more upfront on I Suck on That Emotion, showing up on both obviously goofy tracks like "Housework for 3" and the smart, slightly folky "Hey Lonnie" and "Luxembourg." Regardless of whether you look at I Suck on That Emotion as a debut or as a continuation, it's a smart, funny, decidedly underground rock album that arrives when those are in short supply.