wears the trousers magazine


sounding off: july 2009 (ii)
August 4, 2009, 10:40 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Bird Talk
No Bird Left Behind ••½
Self-released

Formed in 2007, Bird Talk are two girls and two boys who play indie-rock that draws on new wave, punk and lo-fi dance styles to create a sound that bears a passing similarity to the likes of Los Campesinos! and the harder-edged side of Tilly & The Wall. Available at a price of your own choosing, their debut album No Bird Left Behind shows great potential that’s sadly never quite realised. Lead vocals are half sung, half spoken by Melissa ‘Jumpy’ Marquez over the thrust of a capable rhythm section from Jacco Kuipers (bass) and Anthony ‘Shimby’ McCreery (drums), but it’s the addition of Emily Engelhard on keyboards that adds depth to these songs – her sweet and often swinging interjections neatly contrasting the harshness of Marquez’s bark.

The problem with No Bird Left Behind doesn’t lie in a lack of interesting material. Rather, it’s a surfeit of samey melodies that show little artistic growth from one song to another that makes it a bit of a trial to listen to. What starts out as an enjoyable record soon begins to seem like one very long song that, while no doubt containing plenty of catchy touches and potentially anthemic choruses, is difficult to decipher.

Claire Robinson
Available on import/download; www.myspace.com/birdtalkmusic

 

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Care Bears On Fire
Get Over It! •½
S-Curve Records

Care Bears On Fire is exactly the sort of band name a seventh grader would use; it’s got that whole edgy-without-alienating-the-parents sound to it. So it makes sense then that the three ladies fanning the flames are hardly ladies at all and are, in fact, middle-schoolers. Given that, their second record Get Over It! is quite an achievement. There are not many who could form a band, play gigs, get a record deal and go through puberty all at the same time.

As part of the so-called kidcore scene they are exactly the type of band a 13 year old could really get behind. Their songs are bright, fast paced and eager to impress. For the parents in the audience, however, it may be a different story. Odds are that their live show is pretty damned entertaining, but for more mature ears the record is often a bit too much to handle. While Izzy, Sophie and Jena try their best to exude punk rock attitudes they come across like a Disney version of The Runaways. In fact, the whole act is so perfectly moulded to fit this idea that it’s hard not to notice the puppet strings moving these girls around.

Elyse Cain
UK release date: 14/07/09; www.myspace.com/carebearsonfire

 

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Chores
The Subtle Politics Of The Public Hammock ••½
Field Hymns

First of all: Chores? Chores? Really? Are we suffering such a drought of linguistic invention that bands are reduced to picking names which lend themselves all too easily to lines like ‘Listening to them is certainly one, ho ho!’? As for The Subtle Politics Of The Public Hammock…well, it’s better than ‘Chores’, I guess, but what does it mean?

I really want to like the first full-length album from this Portland foursome, though: for one thing, any band, especially US-based, with the anticapitalist impulse on show in ‘New New Deal’ and ‘Noinsuranceland’ gets my vote. The latter is a possible nod to REM’s ‘Ignoreland’, but suffers badly from the comparison. It’s a shame that much of what seems likeable about Chores is often hard to make out over squalling guitars and murkily thumping percussion. The band are at their most engaging when they polish up their post-punk tendencies, as in the choppy ‘Touching Can Harm The Art’ or the Television-stalking ‘My Own Private Esperanto’, sacrificing shouty rhetoric for icy, controlled impressionism.

At their best, Chores make a creditable stab at the shadows of Talking Heads and the B-52s. At their worst, I’m afraid they live up to their name.

Rhian Jones
UK release date: 24/03/09; www.myspace.com/choresmusic

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