Inert Ingredients have no delusions about their music, aptly stamping their recent release with the title, The Most Background Music Album Ever. Awkwardly but appropriately worded for an almost wordless record. These locals’ soft-core musical hybrid is sometimes tinged with electronica, sometimes orchestral, while guitars can be lush and loose, á la Incubus and Minus the Bear, or sparse and hushed; either way, it amounts to a hookless, nearly lyricless din of, believe it or not, background noise.
It’s not colorless, though. The warbly “Intro” segues into the wintry, needling “Oh Joe,” which simultaneously has the easy percussive rhythm of a ’90s R&B tune and a cool ambience that brings to mind an outro from some Kid A song. For background music, there are enough inflections and loose sonic changes to call the album a mellow fantasia of sorts. The tinny pluck and faint percussive fizz of “Hyper Conscious” could almost be a Bon Iver creation, and then “Inert Consciousness” is a continuation of that sleepiness, until the song picks up with a skittish drum shaking over the guitar. The band pulls a nice one with the following “Electric or a Knight to Remember,” a bleary ambient cut that could be on one of those de-stress comp albums from Walmart where you can press the buttons and hear samples.
It’s almost offensive when lyrics pop in so late in the record on “Feel Free.” On the sole track with vocals come the instructions: “Oh, just let it go/free to let go/breathe and let it flow.” We’d already assumed we were supposed to.