It’s clearly inspired by the '70s but isn’t some bargain find of a long-lost '70s album at your local record store. The ghost of Carole King (who I discovered while writing this is NOT dead) heavily haunts every note. And Wes Anderson could make an entire film about (and using) these songs starring Saorise Ronan in the lead role, and the vibes would be immaculate.
The one thing that I can add, however, is Joan. The song “Joan” is about lead singer Suzanne May’s cat and the profound effect animals can have at opportune moments in our lives. We’ve all had this feeling, like they were made for us, coming into our lives at a crucial time, transcending the role of mere pet. They become one of our closest friends, our most trusted confidants, knowing our every secret. Your album may have a lot of things, but your album does not have a love ballad to your cat.
Even though that is the one unique thing I can contribute, that’s not all I am going to say.
There’s a quality to the music that reminds me of an impressionist/post-impressionist painting, as if Van Gogh painted The Starry Night during a sunny day at the boardwalk. Whether it’s the horns on “Girl on a Motorcycle” or “Things to Make You Feel Better” that evoke childhood memories of my mom listening to Chicago, the funky bass line on “My Heart,” or the enchanting keys on any given track, there is a fluid movement that is inherent to the music, which when added to the lyrics, paints a picture just as vivid as the paintings of which the music reminds me. This fluidity takes you by the hand through each track and by the time the needle reaches the white-noise static indicating you've reached the end of the record, you're ready to go again.
I don’t think I could criticize this album. If you do manage to have a critique, I do not want to meet you. You must be a miserable human to be around if you cannot recognize the delightful journey that is Trip the Light Fantastic. There is a reason it hangs on my wall of records. I think everyone should listen to it.