Some groups have such an effortless way with a breezy pop song that you‘re completely dumbfounded as to why they’re not yet household names. Then you realize that they’re far too eclectic, and esoteric, to fit into neat little pop boxes. The Mabuses is certainly a better band for it. Enigmatic group leader Kim Fahy has returned from the elysian fields of masters degree pursuing to reconvene this oddball, category-defying group after 13 years of relative silence (side-projects notwithstanding).
While Fahy & Co.’s genial, lilting, big-hearted pop songs are occasionally hijacked by flights of absurdist whimsy, they’re ultimately grounded by the richness of their lyrical conceits. They always end on exactly the right note, no matter how many styles this restless, musically omnivorous group may flit through along the way.
I first discovered them via Lida Husik, who collaborated with Mabuses percussionist Jamie Harley on her Kramer-produced albums Your Bag and Return of Red Emma. (The first Mabuses record came out in 1991 on Kramer’s label Shimmy Disc; Lida covered their song “Bustop” on Red Emma.)
At any rate, Lida credited Jamie with much awesomeness, so I had to give the Mabuses a try. And, lo, I was not disappointed. Their new album is SO good that I’m having a hard time choosing tracks to post. I’ll leave it at the dreamy and bittersweet “Sugarland” and the jaunty instrumental ditty “Tiger Lilies.”
“Mabused” is the group’s first album in 13 (or so) years, and they’re playing a (very rare) live show at NYC’s Knitting Factory on September 22nd. I wouldn’t miss it if I were you.