Eclecticism is a term often used to paint a broad range when it comes to an individuals artistic dispositions and/or stylings. Often times, the term is used far too loosely. Late Cambrian and their latest release Future Snacks takes the term eclecticism and embraces it without looking back.
For those unaware, Late Cambrian is the creative and romantic partnership between John Wlaysewski and Olive Hui. The pair recorded the album in their Brooklyn apartment, with Wlaysewski acting as the primary songwriter, producer and arranger, and Hui acting as a production consultant and editor while also contributing vocals, lyrics, and keys throughout the record.
Future Snacks opens with “The Last Wave” which is poppy, upbeat and carries a slight vocal similarity to Owl City in parts. It’s a fun track that is sure to catch the attention of listeners new and old alike. “Homely Raya” follows and sets a bit of a different tempo, but creates a lush musical atmosphere that serves as the perfect background to the vocals. It carries a bit of a hip-hop vibe with a slight hint 21 Pilots. “Come To Bed” mixes things up and has more of an acoustic folk feel to it which showcases just how much diversity is found on Future Snacks.
“Future Snacks” closes out the first half of the album and adds more diversity to the mix as it has a bit of an ethnic Indian vibe musical, but the vocals mesh well and have a strong ethereal feel. “It’s Always Something” leans in to the pop sensibilities and is probably the most “accessible” track on the album. It carries a solid tempo and some solid vocal layering in parts that gives it an infectious aspect as it is sure to stick with you. This is shown most on Hui’s part that stands out on the track as it both blends and contrasts with Wlaysewski’s vocals beautifully.
“Peloton” is an interesting track that could probably pass as something Radiohead may have concocted at some point, but it has a sleek uniqueness to it that prevents it from getting lost on the album. In addition, the vocal harmonies in parts are another shining moment on the album, not just the track. The oddly titled “Skunk Family Thieves” is another semi-folk-like track at first, but shifts into more of a pop anomaly. It’s solid, yet simplistic, drum work sets a remarkable beat that carries the track in a unique manner. The album draws to a close with “Sydney Sweeney” that opens with some slight voice modulation on the vocals against a somewhat minimalistic musical backdrop. It’s probably the simplest track on the album, but it plays to that strength and adds to the eclectic nature that abounds on the album.
Future Snacks as a whole is musically and thematically diverse without feeling derivative and/or out-of-control, which is an impressive feat that is testament to the unique partnership between the duo. For some it may be seen as quirky and may take time to appreciate, but it is a fun and enigmatic ride from start to finish.