With "Up a Tree" Stuart David of the underground pop sensation Belle & Sebastian makes a break from the mother band to explore "beatspeak." Looper's simply synthy music is about groovy little word interplays, and sounds and beats that are cut up and rearranged to twist and turn your perception of danceable pop. After listening to "Festival '95" you'll wonder why James Brown didn't think to try his hand at harmonica funk.
Melodies, however, are sometimes lost in the groove. "Ballad of Ray Suzuki," "Burning Flies" and "Columbo's Car" travel the thin line of background easy-listening music. Still, close attention reveals lovely, early-Boo Radleys-ish fuzz in "Burning Flies" and in the slick title track "Up a Tree." Making music for Looper is child's play -- play that fans can join on the band's website.