Some teachers enforce a rigorous formula for essays and modify every student’s draft to fit that criteria. Scott Reitherman drafted a fluent, accessible essay in 2014 with Pillar Point, his solo debut. While Marble Mouthis unarguably more polished, it reflects the revision of producer Kevin Barnes and his work with of Montreal. Because of this, it’s difficult to tell where Scott Reitherman begins and Kevin Barnes ends. Reitherman may be chanting the title of opening track “Part Time Love,” but his voice is working six full-time shifts. It exponentially tangents, like a spin-off of a spin-off of a spin-off, but those spin-offs essentially evolve into of Montreal songs.
Despite the heavy-handed influence of Barnes, Reitherman achieves a dense, indelibly fun sound. For some reason a weather report introduces a tantalizing nu-disco diddy on “Gloomsday.” This is where Reitherman imprints his signature; he crafts deceptively atypical synth-pop tracks, but he swathes a veneer of familiarity onto every beat. “Black Fly On A White Wall” is clustered but danceable. “Dove” shares the digital choir ambiance of a Top 40 Oneohtrix Point Never jam (pretty sure this is an oxymoron, but I’m standing by it) or a french house snoozefest than a synth-pop single. Reitherman’s way of melding these elements into an infectious groove is distinctly his, but the sound is unmistakably Barnes’.
After Music Go Music made a Pillar Point remix last year, Reitherman’s perspective on music came full-circle, if a bit unclear. He amalgamates his eclectic influences into synthesized discotek trances, which is wildly creative. “Playtime” is emblematic of his less successful attempts to infuse his influences into his tracks with its erratic lyrical delivery and somber lyrical content (ala of Montreal). It devolves into an uninteresting mess of ideas. As is the case with much of Marble Mouth, which ideas are his and which ideas are Barnes’ is unclear. One thing is clear, however: Marble Mouth is a bustling synth-pop essay with an uncanny amount of editing by Kevin Barnes.
Recommended If You Like: of Montreal, Jam City, a confused Pet Shop Boys
Recommended Tracks: 1 (Part Time Love), 5 (Lafayette), 8 (Underground)