Silicone Prairie Vol. II LP
Ian Teeple’s one talented dude. His unconventional guitar work is largely responsible for making WARM BODIES one of the most unique hardcore acts and all-around best bands of the ’10s. NATURAL MAN BAND, his egg-punk follow-up project, stood out in a genre largely defined by its sameness, even feeling somewhat like high art compared to the other records coming out of that same scene due to Ian’s unique, freewheelin’ style of making music. His first record as SILICONE PRAIRIE, a bit of a COVID-era solo-recording extension of what he was doing with NATURAL MAN BAND, saw him expanding his sonic palette, freeing him of some of genre constraints that were potentially hemming in his earlier work. Even through its Pure Guava-esque bedroom pop tape warble, you could tell My Life on the Silicone Prairie was an intricately produced labor of love absolutely brimming with creativity. Vol. II continues this trend—he’s jettisoned more of the herky-jerky punk that he made his bones with, and has replaced it with even more intricate compositions. A track like “Mirror on the Wall” starts out as another breathy WEEN pop number until some jaunty flute melody that wouldn’t sound out of place on a SUFJAN STEVENS track gets layered in, alongside some guitar that sounds like it was pulled from a sped-up version of the ISLEY BROTHERS’ “That Lady.” It’s certainly a unique sound. Overall, the record has more of a jazzy soft rock vibe than the last record, and it reminded me at times of stuff like the SEA AND CAKE’s Oui, STEELY DAN, a new-age infomercial, and even the STEVE MILLER BAND. It’s a record that I truly do have an appreciation for, and in a lot of respects it’s infinitely bolder and more creative than most of the stuff I like. But I have to stop short of saying that I enjoyed the album, because I do not really like any of the things that I reference above (except for maybe new-age infomercials—those rule).