"I Am Sweden" CDR
Star Powerup Records
Genres: lo-fi, indie pop
Mar 22 - 28 2004
The Mathletes is the work of Joe, a twenty year old compulsive
songwriter / lo-fi performer who has been running the Ninja Death Club
for a few years now. The Club works by you sending Joe
twenty-three dollars (plus shipping,) and then him sending you CDR
releases every four to six weeks for a whole year. Plus, you get
all sorts of handmade goodies and numerous bonus releases as further
incentive to join.
But, you ask. Is it worth it? Heck, twenty-three
dollars isn't much - but if it's just for a bunch of crap, why should
Well, if this CDR album is anything to go by, you shouldn't be
disappointed. I Am Sweden consists of fifteen very
infectious, lo-fi pop nuggets. Though some aren't as
successful as others (Joe shares an unfailing sense of
experimentation with GBV's Bob Pollard,) DIY pop fans
should be quite happy with this disc. It houses a number of The
Mathletes' tunes - some successful, some not - including many
really neat tidbits.
"A Partial List of my Faults" is twangy pop, "Catpower
is a Good Cop" takes a very impulsive, brash approach to lo-fi
indie rock, and "It's Christmas, ______" utilizes a well-known
melody and gives it an alternate context. Plus, a cover of Boards
of Canada's electronica number "ROYGBIV" is an unusual
and surprisingly successful inclusion.
This album is an extremely fun lo-fi diversion by a young DIY
artist. Though some of his songs can be bland and occasionally
quite unlistenable, the better tunes make up for these duds. I
Am Sweden is worth a shot from any true indie pop lover.
Fun Fact: Hmmm.
[Vitals: 15 tracks, distributed by the
label, released 2003]