Early in the first track on Scattered Smothered Covered, the new album by Appetite, Teddy Briggs sings, "songs keep writing themselves" and the resulting collection of music seems to do exactly that! This early lyric is a testament to the sense of musical ease and fluency this 27-year-old Californian creates with this record. Originally conceived as a project to, as Briggs simply puts it, "try and make songs all by myself," Appetite has, on this new disc, flourished, conjuring songs buoyed by a spirit that vibrates with the influences of downtempo electronica, hip-hop, Tropicalia, and the far-reaching sonics of Can, early Mercury Rev, and certain shades of Beck.
Scattered's density is par for the course for Briggs. The self-taught producer started his musical career as a drummer (beginning it as drummer for Rooney in his hometown of Los Angeles and on to Sacramento instrumental outfit What's Up?) but started putting together his own pop symphonies on an eight track recorder. His first album The Ambiguous Garment (self-released under the name Chief Briggum) carries with it the same 300-thread count combination of softness and substance that Briggs has only expanded upon with album #2. Originally beginning as demos meant only for the ears of his friend / producer, Raleigh Moncrief (Dirty Projectors, Ganglians and Sister Crayon), Moncrief brought Briggs into the studio wherein he began to perform every instrument, part by part, for the majority of the songs that make up the new album. Just listen to the multi-tracked vocals that hop along a follow-the-bouncing-ball rhythm before joining a stutter-step beat and low humming bassline on "Tussy". Or the shimmering throb of the heartsick anthem "Little While". Or the reverb-drenched "Franchise" that builds upon a double-tracked acoustic guitar line and a clattering bit of percussion that hides just below the surface.
Briggs says that he chose his musical moniker because he thinks, "a lot of people, myself included, are hungry for things that they can't even name. Or hungry for things they think they need, which they already have. I think that's a running theme in my songs." You can hear that idea in "Blunderground," where he sings, "I keep trying too hard to float too far away," or when he chides "Merry Anne" for trying "to carry the burdens you run from, fast enough to crash against what you thought youd outlast."
These are songs that reveal layers upon layers for the headphone listener or just provide a nice bed of gorgeous sound for you to rest upon. Like the namesake method for ordering up your home fries or hash browns, Scattered Smothered Covered is satisfyingly rich, and sure to whet your own musical appetite.