If you have been paying very close attention (and Lord help you if you have) you may have noticed that I reference the band Groove Armada here and there. I was going to give the same off-handed comparison to Dinner at the Thompson’s, but I decided I needed to first look at why I continually return to a fifteen-year-old band.
I was introduced to Groove Armada during Christmas vacation in my sophomore year of college. I was visiting some family friends, and had recently started to branch out my musical tastes, thanks to a Southern California radio station and a boyfriend who loved Britpop. My former tastes had been lacking and antiquated. So listening to Groove Armada was a new entry into a larger world of not just music, but also just treating ones’ album as a sounding board for radical thoughts, smart ideas, and little bits of quotes here and there.
In this way, Dinner at the Thompsons reminds me of Groove Armada. Let me put it to you like this: if I entered a party playing DATT’s Off the Grid I would immediately question whether or not I was cool enough to be there. The songs transition in intriguing ways, the beats are always there, and there’s skit-skatty things happening. It’s a smart mix of rap/hip-hop and jazzy soul electric.
Sure, there’s always a chance of coming off as pretentious when a song opens in French, but this album is a US-Franco collaboration between FabLive and Lucille Tee, and was recorded in France, so I’ll let that one go. Besides, those lyrics are followed by: “I’m a woman changed – some might say deranged, but I know what I mean.” Love it.
Do I understand all the references? I wish. Track seven, titled “Rise Up” seems to be about an organic garden and snails. Do I know where all the movie-sounding The Avalanches-style quote come from? Not at all. Do I like it all anyway? You bet. And I think I would even if it didn’t remind me of the time when I was discovering all sorts of new music – after all, I still am.