The title here is deceptive. There is such an eclectic mix of sounds and moods on this record, that the listener would hardly benefit from being timid. By turns comforting and bare naked, but always brave, Rafter Roberts has built a web of pop and avant-garde strands, and then burns them off, leaving you without a net.
In ?Peace,? Roberts sings ?I know a world like this is impossible to find,? which is a good starting point to reference this eclectic deconstruction of pop and rock styles. From gentle folk (?Hope?) to no-wave aesthetics ?Encouragement?), ambient (?Gentle Men?) to abrasive and caustic (?Unassailable?), Roberts makes music that clashes with and fights itself, and yet the overall message is positive. Indeed, some of the tracks have lyrics that are downright Jonathan Livingston Seagull in their optimism and buoyancy, and would be godawfully trite in lesser hands, or, rather, with lesser risky sounds to prop them up.
The intent behind ?Music for Total Chickens? seems to be the desire to provide order, wonder even, out of chaos. Roberts succeeds mightily. This is almost an avant-garde greeting card to the joy of life we miss when the noise gets too pervasive. The record is an example of hope in the midst of almost absurd contradiction. 9/10 -- Mike Wood (6 February, 2007)