I think somebody once said that if you’ve heard one indie dreampop record you’ve heard them all. The Aislers Set have set out to prove that somebody wrong, and they have crafted a fairly convincing argument.
The “they” I speak of is really a “she.” Amy Linton was a drummer and guitarist for the mid-‘90s Bay-area band Henry’s Dress. Half of the songs on Terrible Things Happen were recorded solo by Amy in her garage, while the other half were recorded by a band made up of Linton and members of other Bay-area combos like Scenic Vermont and Trackstar.
The record is fairly diverse without losing its central focus. Many influences are brought out, including The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, The Who, and, of course, The Beach Boys. Linton’s vocals are at the same time pretty and imaginative like Barbara Manning, and droning and scattered like Liz Phair. It is likely, however, that Phair is the one who has borrowed from the likes of Linton and Manning, not the other way around.
The production shines on the record, adding layers to make these great pop tunes even better. Lo-fi more by choice than necessity, there’s always enough fuzz behind these tracks to give them a subtle rawness. Some of the slower songs make the album drag a little, but even those tracks have their pretty moments.
The closer, “My Boyfriend (Could Be A Spanish Man)” is a near-perfect punk pop ditty. More songs in that vain would have given the record a more distinct edge, but Terrible Things Happen is no slouch as it is. This is pure, sweet, fun pop music, and sometimes that is the best kind there is.