...because I think Gastr del Sol are incredibly underappreciated and could very easily reach a much larger audience. "Camofleur" proves it, and let it be said, this is a POP album (unlike their previous efforts)--for more experimental, challenging listening, "Upgrade & Afterlife" is austere, bracing, and very rewarding.
Camofleur, then, is eclectic pop music. O'Rourke and Grubbs seem to have included every influence they ever spent a day with, from Eno ("A Puff of Dew") and Parks ("Each Dream is An Example," "The Seasons Reverse") to Fahey ("Bauchredner"), Kraftwerk, Conrad, and Vietnamese folk songs ("Black Horse"). There are acoustic guitars with deft fingerwork, pedal steel guitars, pianos on top of needly-noisy synthesizer sounds, tape-looped found sounds, backup singers (!), and even drums, occasionally.
The amazing part is that O'Rourke has managed to arrange and mix it all so that it is remarkably cohesive. The songs blend right into one another, organically--a common adjective applied to his production sound--but they are interestingly arranged and diverse enough that they are clearly distinct from one another. This a marked reversal from their other albums, where "post-rock" is apropos (spacious, percussionless extended sequences punctured by bursts of sheer noise). Another departure is that this album is always pleasant, almost dreamy, easy to listen to. Where past albums tempered the occasional pleasantness with dissonance, "Camofleur" replaces the dissonance with denser arrangements and more varied musicianship.
If anything this album is a harbinger of the pop sensibilty of Grubbs' and O'Rourke's subsequent solo efforts. To my ear (and brain), what they did together is far richer and more interesting than almost anything they've done alone (possibly excepting The Magic Sound of Fenno'berg). They are smart, exceptionally skilled musicians with talents that seemed to complement each other in ways few bands together for twice as long ever reached. "Each Dream Is an Example" and "Blues Subtitled No Sense of Wonder" are stand-out tracks that showcase the layered, sometimes lush arrangements, as well as Grubbs' more interesting lyrics. "Sensuous detail meet sensuous detail" sums it all up: that's exactly what "Camofleur" is about, sensuous detail.