Musical neighbors, to a certain extent, of Boo Trundle and Laika, but encompassing a more user-friendly presentation, Splashdown has grabbed hold of something here, and you can too. It’s part groovy dance-trance that goes for the jugular, complete with synthesized sitars
(“Thunder,” which could have been penned by the likes of Laika), part understated Hooverphonics (“Presumed Lost”), part snarling evil-woman, Throwing Muse-ish burn (“Beguiled”) and even part historical, I’m-too-clever-for-my-own-good Jane Siberry (“So Ha,” a quirky gem). Owner of that voice, Melissa Kaplan, with little or no effects on her vocals easily flips back and forth between sounding lovely and menacing, as cute and disturbing as a pretty little girl burning ants with a magnifying glass.
When Splashdown aren’t rocking out, or being whimsical, the loose funkys are the norm, and they’ll make you move as well as anyone. But it’s with the more unusual, complex tunes that they do the most for me. The flowing, mysterious timbre of “Deserter,” as well as the equally unusual “So Ha” are eagerly relished, the former showcasing just how remarkable a vocalist Ms. Kaplan is.
Somewhat drum-n-bass in the guise of Lida Husik, “Running With Scissors” closes an unusual and very often compelling album. By the time it finishes, you may very well do a double-take, or you might just be so enchanted that minutes pass before you realize the music’s stopped.
Splashdown’s Stars and Garters receives a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars