Review: Darwin Xylophone – Existential Fear

Darwin Xylophone

is the experimental, freak-folk musical project of Tyler Huss, a resident of the Brainerd Lakes Area. Tyler primarily plays guitar and sings on the record, but he also brings his talents on the viola, bass guitar and electronics. I’ve even seen him play trombone on occasion.

I’ve known Tyler for quite a few years now, and since i’ve known him he’s always had a flair for psychedelic weirdness. He started as a weirdo with a guitar, and although he’s still writing surreal folk songs, I think this album marks a beginning towards more electronic experimentation.

It’s hard to write a music reviews without comparisons to other bands, and especially if you’ve never heard of the particular band. So I will get this out of the way before I talk about the album. The two bands I am reminded of when I hear these songs are the Flaming Lips and Neutral Milk Hotel.

Existential Fear is witty and weird, tender and unpolished at times, but each song has its own voice. I don’t want to say that it’s a critique about life in a small town and the maddening boredom that can wear you down, not completely, but I think it’s there. Coming from that same small town I can identify with the feelings of unreality from the druggery of daily life, and the resultant need to do something, anything to feel differently or you might just fucking explode. It’s also I believe the reason drug and alcohol use is kind of an epidemic. Although I haven’t met too many people in Brainerd that can talk about the smell of a rotting wet sandwich whose smell is starting to annoy your neighbors, other than the people Tyler and I know in common maybe‚Ķ they could take the joke.

The songs are a good example of what Tyler does really well; take the ordinary and the weird and run it through a surreal (and slightly perverted) blender and make it into a song, sort of like a deviant Mark Twain. Brainerd needs weird voices like Tyler’s, whether they know it or not.

For fans of Neutral Milk Hotel, Flaming Lips, Guided by Voices and early Dan Deacon

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