The Italian duo Dumbo Gets Mad specializes in psychedelics for the sober, bringing experimentation together with detailed pop songwriting. Keeping track of every subtle texture that flows through "Marmelade Kids" is harder than it sounds: The instrumentation comes on easily enough, but it's not long before the music develops into a series of different phaser effects, distortions and reverberations.
Synthesizers make up a great deal of the sound, but none of the equipment sounds new. From analog hums to Mellotron-like whispers, retro vibes are revived without sounding rehashed. The pitch-shifted vocals, which might be the oddest sound here, beckon eerily over a drum beat that could soundtrack any number of hip-hop songs. It's an instance where contrasts just work. Some art needs to be hung on the wall and stared at inquisitively, while other pieces require a more active approach. Strapping on an oxygen tank and diving in headfirst might be the wisest course of action here. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.