Planned chaos

At times, Flotation Toy Warning sounds completely amateur. Detuned instruments, off-key and generally off-handed vocals, songs written in competing keys and a general inability to conform to any conventional sense of song structure.

Flotation Toy Warning
The Machine That Made Us

Actually, at any given moment, one of those things is happening. What is remarkable is how the band manages to bring these songs together by the end.

After three or four songs, the listener's brain has been reorganized. For most, prog is synonymous with technical virtuosity and conventional (even classical) structure. Flotation Toy Warning keeps the stellar playing, but subverts it with the aforementioned tuning and rambling paths. Imagine the Replacements playing Flaming Lips in the style of, um, well that's the thing.

Flotation Toy Warning is generally understated, but that, too, is hardly consistent. Sometimes these songs coalesce into brilliantly simply statements. For a few seconds. And then they wander back into the chaos. Chaos that is created entirely by the music; the sound here is impeccably clean with almost no distortion.

Simply pulling all of this together into something greater than an unholy mess would have been a herculean task. Flotation Toy Warning goes one better, crafting (in its fashion) an astonishing statement of modern dissolution. And while I'm sure there is no straightforward political statement on this album, the sound of the world breaking down (without actually doing so) is timely as hell. Try this one on, and it will steal your heart.

Jon Worley

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