Few comedy-minded composers are bridging the gap between the days of future alt. rock and the past’s pop kitsch like Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau, especially when it comes to all-out spoofs that allowed the free for all of jazz, psychedelic and Mexican music in CASA DI ME PADRE or the 70s funk fest and shark love songs of ANCHORMAN 2. But what makes LIVING better, and more challenging is that instead of uproarious pop culture and movie jokes, this scoring duo is tasked with rampaging through regular day suburbia, if still completely jacked up on illicit sex and drugs.

Their CHEMISTRY album gets off to a giddy start with their specialty in upending 60s-style cocktail music, complete with a brassy Bossa Nova beat, Novachord and cooing voices – music that’s would fit perfectly into Don Draper’s bachelor pad. But BETTER LIVING gets even catchier when it goes to a relatively stripped down, and even emotional sound for Feltenstein and Nau, as guitar, bells and marimbas get across a hapless, sad sack pharmacist gradually going to the dark, career-ruining side in the arms of a neighborhood sex pot. Spastic, hallucinatory rhythms create the rush of raiding the drugstore, as balanced by the sympathetic tunes of conformity lost. BETTER stretches the duo creatively with wacked-out thrills, sweet poignancy and uneasy anticipation, giving new energy to their already jacked-up style. Ending the album is a wistful piano and synth song that takes Feltenstein and Nau into Jon Brion territory – a nice RX in a cabinet of musical happy pills that threaten to only get peppier.


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