All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Review: Press On Randy - Moths And Butterflies

Press On Randy - Moths And Butterflies
2009, Press On Randy

Press On Randy is Seattle based singer/songwriter Seamus Tompkins. Incorporating electronic music into his folk/pop songs has helped Tompkins create a special sound; you’d never think just one person is behind the sound of Press On Randy from just listening. Press On Randy’s debut EP, Moths And Butterflies is the culmination of nearly six years of travel and personal growth for Tompkins. With influences ranging from Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan to Postal Service and Bright Eyes, Press On Randy has the potential to appeal to a lot of people.

Press On Randy mixes acoustic, electric and electronic instrumentation with strong pop hooks, unforgettable melodies and a low key approach that makes for a delightful musical milieu. Moths And Butterflies opens with What It Takes To Be A Sailor, an energetic yet understated pop song with real commercial potential. This is one of those songs where the verse will stick in your head for days after hearing it once, and Press On Randy seems to understand how to balance the acoustic and electronic aspects of the arrangement so one does not overpower the other. Bullets And Beachballs seems to be about a relationship doomed not to work; the protagonist finds all sorts of metaphors for their ill-fated other half on the way to the realization that good things came out of the experience. The arrangement here is highly energetic in an understated fashion, and once again features a melody you'll have a hard time shaking.

Dogs Go Blind is something of a mystery for meaning; there's an esoteric and indecipherable thread in there that ties the song together, but the melodic construction is pure gold. The harmonies are gorgeous, and the instrumentation is comprised of pieces or progressions that at times seem like they shouldn't quite fit together but somehow do nonetheless. Moths And Butterflies, the title track, sounds like it might have it's origins in an old-school Casio arpeggio and works as an almost geek-pop piece ala Lisa Loeb. It's a song about breaking free from expectations and societal constraints and learning to live according to your own drummer's beat. Little Fish Are Not Your Friends is a quirky little angst-filled pop song that's so obscure I'm still not quite sure what it means. I've puzzled over this one for about a dozen listens and I'm no closer to an answer, but the same wonderful pop sensibility that's been evident from the beginning of Moths And Butterflies pervades this song. The album closes with My Castle Is Your Sand is perhaps an acknowledgement to nature that what we build is inconsequential in the grand scope of time. It may be playing on the "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" construct in a parable about each person's grand significance on a scale of time where our lives are a blink of time on the planet where we live.

Press On Randy is confounding. Tompkins will drive you a little bit nuts with his esoteric and sometimes bizarre lyrics, all wrapped up in these wonderfully contrived alt-pop confections that dig their hooks into you even as he twists your sense of what pop music is supposed to be. I can't say I was blown away by Press On Randy because he doesn't have that bombastic or magical sense about him. Instead, Press On Randy is a quiet musical philosopher weaving subtle magic wrapped in melodies you can't escape. You can puzzle over the lyrics while the music wraps you up and carries you along. Moths and Butterflies is brilliant.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Press On Randy at You can purchase a copy of Moths And Butterflies at

1 comment:

Arnar from Mammút said...

Hey Wildy's World!

Really admire people you introduce new music to people, thanks a lot for that!:)

Also thanks for the request at Ariel Publicity, you'll be receiving it soon:)