Often, ascribing one or two established genres to a band’s sound can feel much too prohibitive. Of course, when a band feels this way about their own music, they can simply choose to reject any categorization; or, they can make up an entirely new label for themselves. In Museyroom’s case, when “indie pop,” “experimental pop,” and “electronic pop” didn’t quite fit the bill, they chose to define their music as “future nostalgia.”
What’s most fitting about the descriptor is that it doesn’t deal in sonic aesthetics or technicalities—Museyroom’s work would be tough to boil down to just a few succinct words. Instead, “future nostalgia” co-opts a feeling—a distant, nebulous sort of feeling—to use as their genre. And you find, as you listen to their debut LP, Pearly Whites, that they often do sound like they’re gazing back over their shoulders even as they frantically run forwards.
Pearly Whites is a tightly-wound tangle of sounds—there’s a lot to take in, but, at every turn, the three-piece keep complete control over the many varied details. It makes sense given that, despite this being their first official full-length release, the band have been toiling away since 2009 when they released their first self-titled EP. One can trace their history even further back to 2003, when childhood friends Jack Donovan (guitar/vocals) and Ben Cohen (bass/keyboards) first began writing and recording together. It’s clear with this LP that years of practice as a unit have allowed Museyroom to become especially nimble in their music.
Many of the nine tracks on Pearly Whites feature prominent guitar arpeggios and skittering percussion that makes you think drummer Matt Coppola must have some impressive stamina. On “Sleeper,” for example, the band incorporate both of these elements along with far-away whistles that make the song feel expansive and surprisingly serene despite its ever-agitated instrumentation. Their music is layered with a lot of precise bits and pieces, but it always features an acoustic guitar somewhere in the lead; Sung Tongs definitely comes to mind.
Still, there’s a good amount of variation to be found amongst these nine tracks. Towards the album’s end, “It Won’t Change Now” is a mighty catchy tune that features a fast-paced twang and sees the band apply their token nervous energy to a road trip-worthy chord progression. And the band do well with more paced-out songs as well, like “Rangers,” which folds in some elements of electronica and hip-hop and ends up with woozy, spacey effects atop a tromping beat.
No doubt Pearly Whites is an album best enjoyed via headphones. Museyroom’s songs come into full bloom when you allow yourself to really get immersed in them. They have a way of making their constant swiftness somehow coalesce into one smooth, fluid ride, and in fact, it’s a really lovely and rather beautiful ride at that. Hop on and enjoy.