The Hoot Hoots' Appetite for Distraction Is Chirpy, Cheerful, And Yes, An Absolute Hoot

The Hoot Hoots

Appetite for Distraction

Out now, Hoot House Recordings

With The Shins on sabbatical and quirky pop outfit The Unicorns long-dissolved in other projects, The Hoot Hoots have picked up the torch, carefully building on the idiosyncratic, whimsical sounds of those bands with their second release, Appetite for Distraction, a 10-song long cakewalk crammed with tight pop melodies, expressive, lush harmonies, and kooky sound effects across the board.

"I firmly believe that there is no experience that is unfit to be the subject of art," frontman Adam Prairie says. "I love Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, and Beethoven, but Chris [Prairie, drums] and I also played a bunch of video games when we were kids. It's what we know and it seems inconsequential, but all those things changed us, shaped us," Prairie explains.

These formative experiences play out in the album's spacey, synth-heavy landscapes and often cartoony sounding refrains (I hear Futurama's Zoidberg in the "do-do-do's" of "Worlds"). The Hoots' website even playfully boasts that the band: "could destroy any other band on the face of the Earth in Mario Kart."

While the group's fun-loving, reverential spirit keeps them orbiting their influences--"Do You Know What They Say About The Pacific?" is pure Shins, with sharp time signatures and Prairie's easy rolling lyrics sounding much like the mellow, metered James Mercer, with a lyric about unicorns thrown in for good measure--their high-energy songbook, full of stories about ghosts and robots and brain eating dinosaurs ("Nightmares"), captures the essence of goof-pop with upbeat, irrepressible glee.

The Hoot Hoots play the High Dive this Saturday (1/7) with Werebearcat and You.May.Die.In.The.Desert.

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