On their third album, The Camel’s Back, the London duo known as Psapp (Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant) continues its foray into the inventive genre of homemade electronica.
Best known for the xylophone-laden Grey’s Anatomy theme song “Cosy in the Rocket” (back when the show, you know, actually had an opening sequence), the pair often uses toys and other household objects in place of instruments.
Several songs on “The Camel’s Back,” out February 17, lend themselves to a game of “Name That Sound Effect,” with bubbles, broken springs and what sounds like a jack-in-the-box sprinkled throughout. “Cosy in the Rocket”‘s counterpart on Psapp’s latest record is “The Monster Song,” a bouncy mishmash of keyboards, percussion and woodwinds. Durant’s airy vocals and the group’s experimental electronic sound call to mind the now-defunct fellow British duo Frou Frou.
But the foundation for all this instrumental weirdness is pop rhythms that are more accessible than one might think. Even the ambient instrumental “Marshrat” manages to remain cohesive through dense layers of sounds that call to mind a toy-making workshop — or at least the background music in one.
Still, some of the album’s best moments come when Clasmann and Durant show some restraint, as evidenced by the “less is more” approach adopted for the straightforward, melancholy, soundtrack-ready piano ballad “Screws” and the subtle orchestration of “Fickle Ghost.”
Durant’s unemotional delivery often borders on indifference, with the exception of the vocal chops she exhibits on the jazzy leadoff track “I Want That.” But more often than not, that listlessness works with the dreamy soundscape that is The Camel’s Back.