Okay, so it’s easy to peg these guys as Jimmy Eat World soundalikes and leave it at that, but that’s a mistake. Sure, they do bear some resemblance to their current tour-/labelmates, mostly in the marriage of shiny-sweet pop melodies to thundering rock-god guitars without becoming a run-of-the-mill emo band, but that’s only a surface impression; these four kids are better than that. They’ve thrown equal parts Posies, Blur, Sebadoh and The Clash into the machine, and the resultant combination that’s spit out the other end is pretty unique. Of Someday Shambles brings the worlds of indie-rock and pop closer together than most bands can ever hope to.
I can see how folks get the above idea, though, particularly from the fairly standard (but still good) indie-rock of starter “Did You Really?”, but by the time the final track, the defiant warning “Run of the Company”, rolls around with its orchestra arrangement, quasi-flamenco guitar and beautiful, understated trumpet melody, the whole formula’s been tossed out the window. In between, they cover a lot of ground: the sweet, earnest pop song “Love at Last” could easily be The Posies, or maybe Cotton Mather, while “Animal” draws serious comparisons to the Verve (minus the psychedelics), and “Slot Car Racing” is fast, furious, halfway-intelligible Clash-style punk. “In Orbit” is Brit-poppy, and more than a little menacing, and “Star Machine” mines the rock side of things, but shines brighter than most of its breed—I love the way the music fades into tinkly keys and soft voices, only to be swallowed whole by the guitars roaring back in like an approaching freight train.
There are few low points on here, surprisingly; even less impressive tracks like “Feet Touch the Ground” (pretty much textbook indie-rock) and “Happier Sad” (which is saved in the end by the cool slide guitar and nicely frenzied climax) are only minor bumps in the road, and the band never really comes near derailing, except maybe intentionally (see the brilliant, spastic new-wave/drinking song “Trapdoor”). And if this truly is only these kids’ second album, what comes next should be even more amazing.
// Notes from the Road
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