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01Party Master & the Space Brigade

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Songs We Love: Calliope Musicals, 'Party Master & The Space Brigade'

Songs We Love: Calliope Musicals, 'Party Master & The Space Brigade'

01Party Master & the Space Brigade

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Calliope Musicals courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Calliope Musicals

courtesy of the artist

Calliope Musicals, freEP (Calliope Musicals) courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Calliope Musicals frontwoman Carrie Fussell says she envisioned "Party Master & the Space Brigade" as a light-hearted dance number about how aliens are just like us. And it was — until the Austin band brought their freewheeling live show to Bisbee, Arizona, where a performance of the song got them some stern advice. "I think it's very sweet that you are so positive about the aliens," a concerned concert-goer told Fussell, "but they are not all good! I need you to promise me that if you ever lay eyes on a spaceship, you will run." Surely, the comment was made with good intentions, but advice to hold back or be wary is always likely to fall upon deaf ears with this particular band.

Fussell and Matt Roth started Calliope Musicals in 2009, after seeing an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes show that inspired them to form a similarly folksy, boy/girl, call-and-response pop band themselves. Their early work was sweet and acoustic, yet underdeveloped. Fussell always possessed a powerful voice and compelling stage presence, but it took a while for the band to capitalize on the energy stores they were apparently hiding. The addition of a vibraphonist, a drummer, a new bassist, an additional guitarist and a confetti rocket to its touring lineup, transformed Calliope Musicals into a full-blown psychedelic pop carnival. And now it's been captured on record: freEP (yes, a free EP) is an immersive, mostly-live sampler ahead of the group's full-length debut, due Spring 2016.

The title of "Party Master & the Space Brigade" tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the song, a slice of electro-tinged, boisterous fun that wisely strives for nothing more. As Fussell and guitarist Chris Webb told NPR by email, "We recorded it about two weeks after recording our new album, so we definitely took the opportunity to ditch some of the pressures and just have fun making art together."

The secret of its success is that "Party Monster" is music for the musicians first, with the assumption that listeners will follow. It is the work of a promising young band having fun, with the talent and charisma to make even their sillier offerings stick.

freEP is available on Noise Trade.

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