Jack Stauber has a knack for pulling unrelated sounds and influences into its music, throwing them into a bowl and tossing them into a strange salad that challenges your musical taste buds. On tracks like “Leopard,” Stauber goes from Frank Sinatra, to Depeche Mode, to of Montreal, to Connan Mockasin, all under the span of five minutes. It’s absurd and theatrical, and yet it works for Stauber.
HiLo features pop melodies and synth sounds intertwined with strange, sinister effects and off-kilter lyrics. Many numbers feature incongruous contrasts, like the combination of dancy instrumentation and dark lyrics on “John & Nancy.”
Stauber does step away from that formula at times, however, like on “Alright.” It’s a sad, down-tempo indie rock number with lyrics that sound like someone talking themself out of a fit of sadness, marked by choruses with synth bursts like screeching fireworks outside your window.
On HiLo, Stauber is beginning to show a little theatrical restraint. But if you turn to Stauber for the ludicrous lyrics and wild mouth sounds, just turn on “Gettin’ My Mom On,” a 1980s-styled pop song about pursuing day sales at J. C. Penney and drinking mimosas.