Something about the cover of The Way Out, the fourth release by New York folk/electronic duo the Books struck me as familiar, but I couldn't quite figure out what. Then it clicked: the font of the title was taken directly from a '70s version of the Living Bible aimed at youth called The Way that I remember gathering dust around our house when I was a kid.
It's hardly surprising that a group called the Books would latch onto an obscure reference like this, given guitarist Nick Zammuto's and cellist Paul de Jong's propensity for haunting thrift stores looking for spoken-word recordings and other audio ephemera to chop, channel, and reintegrate into their acoustic/digital dice-o-matic discography.
But it was a good sign that I'd find some kindred spirits at work here.
Grafted in this clip to found footage of golf and guns, "I Didn't Know That" is like a blaxploitation soundtrack turned inside out with a dash of Zappa, peppered with bursts of fake amazement from self-help tapes. It's a fine construction, funky and foreign with a stuttering second half that takes the collage further into the abstract without losing the groove.
What does it all mean? I don't know that, but further reading of the Books should enlighten me.
On iTunes: The Books / "I Didn't Know That"