Contrary to what their name suggests, ET Rhino is more jazz than psychedelic, more happy-go-lucky than deep dark space. Hailing from a couple of hours north of Toronto, Extra Terrestrial Rhinoceros, (or ET Rhino for short) has put out their debut album called Outersphere. It will be available to the public this summer. They are planning a U.S tour in the fall.
The band’s name was the first indication of a goofiness that borders on juvenile. This sentiment is pervasive throughout album, considering they have an entire song dedicated to a hat. “Opps There Goes My Hat” which sounds like a jazz rendition of a children’s song, follows a man running down the street trying to find (you guessed it) his hat. Half the album sounds like a soundtrack to The Price is Right which is to say artificially upbeat. The other sounds like a funky take on the background music to Mario Bros. More often than not, many of their songs on this album sound the same.
Yet the chemistry between the band members can not be denied. It’s the songs where the lyrics have a little more depth that keep this album afloat. For instance on “Don’t Know What to Do” a tune about trying to figure out the next move in life, the interplay between the keyboardist and guitarist is the highlight of the track. “Back to the Way We Were” expounds on a myriad of existential ideas. The lyrics are idealistic and the song is in fact, quite catchy. It has a grooviness that falls in line with the cheery outlook the lyrics present.
Outersphere is tinged with these moments of band cohesion. Moments where their jams seem to go somewhere. It’s an album that explores a rose-colored universe, not the next frontier. Yet goofiness aside, this band could have some real potential if they just took themselves, or their audience, a little more seriously.
Key Tracks: “Waiting on You” “Don’t Know What to Do” “Back to the Way We Were”