Some Professional Help, the Bay Area music collective led by Scott Alexander, doesn't concern itself with ordinary things. The goal of their music is to challenge the complacency of modern pop, to jostle those listless sounds with a well-timed orchestral kick. It's pop music for people who are sick of pop music. Taking these sounds and filtering them through a prism of indie rock and obscuro folk stylings, Alexander leads his listeners through an environment filled with brassy send-offs, orchestral movements and percussive reverberations. Sounding like some forgotten compilation you find in an old drawer, the band's music is built from a wealth of musical sources but maintains its own sonic identity and multi-layered persdonality.
The band will be releasing their self-titled debut EP on May 18. Across its 6 tracks, they weave in sounds not unfamiliar to those with for a fondness for amalgamated influences and rhythms. Described by Alexander as "non-repetitive pop," the EP seeks to explore pop music by stretching its pliable form to fit across classical music's skeleton. The traditional structures (verse-chorus-verse) are reevaluated and adapted to accommodate a less linear approach to modern pop. He's aided in this endeavor by 16 of the Bay Area's greatest musicians, including members of Jazz Mafia, Van Goat, Makeunder, Balkan Bump, Yassou, pickPocket Ensemble, San Francisco Mandolin Orchestra, Judgment Day, Tumbleweed Wanderers and Awesöme Orchestra Collective.
On their latest single, "Small Doses," the band develops a lovely folk-pop atmosphere where hints of The Mountain Goats and Jonathan Richman's literate lyrical narratives shine through the subdued complexity of the track. This is more like a conversation than a monologue -- Alexander actively involves us in his affectionate ruminations. He drapes an emotional lightness across the track, striking a balance between the more delicate arrangements and their weightier revelations. But this is still pop, and as such, there's a communal feeling of experience and expectation that courses through its veins. Even "Small Doses," with its off-kilter aesthetic, welcome you with open arms to a world where little is held back and love is as complicated or simple as you want it to be.