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The Besties

Home Free

(Hugpatch; US: 3 Feb 2008; UK: Available as import)

The bio-story for the Besties has something to do with Kelly Waldrop and Marisa Bergquist, the quartet’s two lead singers, growing up together on an island somewhere. The pop songs they sing, light and catchy, have similar comforting qualities that make that feel right. Even when the songs carry some sadness, or awareness of life’s difficulties, as these songs generally do, it’s with the feeling of a breeze that they hit us. That’s especially true of Home Free.


The melodies they come up with are delightful all the way through, and their voices together sound lovely. It’s the third Besties vocalist, guitarist Rikky Walsh, whose voice hangs mostly in the background this time around. Or at least he doesn’t rev up the songs with a dose of punk energy, like he’s done in the past. Home Free is thus less ragged than their past recordings, even with a song titled “What Would Tim Armstrong Do?” and numerous references to life on the road for a DIY band. That’s mostly to its benefit, but I still miss Walsh’s wild interjections. The band, playing on a strong foundation set by drummer Frank E. Korn, gives the songs a solid enough construction that you can imagine that next-leap of energy flowing freely in concert. That, I look forward to.

Rating:

Dave Heaton has been writing about music on a regular basis since 1993, first for unofficial college-town newspapers and DIY fanzines and now mostly on the Internet. In 2000, the same year he started writing for PopMatters, he founded the online arts magazine ErasingClouds.com, still around but often in flux. He writes music reviews for the print magazine The Big Takeover. He is a music obsessive through and through. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.


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