ALWAYS BE HAPPY, BUT STAY EVIL by Garage à Trois (Royal Potato Family)
What do you call a band that brings the tightness and technical proficiency of jazz, the bombast and splendor of rock, the energy and mischief of punk, and a certain hippie-space-jam je ne sais quoi? Garage à Trois. The delightfully unclassifiable quartet plays music for adventurous minds, a skittering amalgam that is sure to have your friends asking, “What are we listening to?”—in a good way.
Keyboardist Marco Benevento and single-name saxophonist Skerik deploy a vast range of effects in their instruments, Mike Dillon reclaims the vibraphone from the cocktail lounge, and drummer Stanton Moore holds it all together with a driving rhythmic intensity.
Garage à Trois has a strong sense of play and absurdity, on display not just in the grooves but also in song titles like “Resentment Incubator,” “Chimp & Flower,” and “Baby Mama Drama.” But although the quartet trades freely in far-outness, their freakiness is tempered by true chops, and they don’t wander aimlessly, keeping their compositions within pop-music attention spans. Ultimately, there’s a head-clearing vigor to this music, as if the weirdos among us might be onto something after all.