The Hurricane Lamps: Sing Me a Song

The Hurricane Lamps
Sing Me a Song
Sonic Boomerang
2003-08-03

According to the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, a hurricane lamp is a lamp with a candle, oiled wick, or electric bulb protected by a glass chimney. You know the ones, the kind in Little House on the Prairie, old Westerns, or at that creepy old lady’s house down the street. Hurricane lamps always seemed really rustic and quaint, like something you would want to have in your room at that bed and breakfast on the weekend away, but not at home in your modern living space.

Just as hurricane lamps are out of step with what most of the society considers functional and relevant, the Hurricane Lamps from Washington, D.C. have stepped into a sound that is dated, but unlike the hurricane lamps of the lighted variety, these Lamps have a definite place in today’s society.

Harkening back to the pop glory days of the Byrds, the Zombies, or the Monkees with their sound and transforming it with some more recent twee-pop influences from the likes of Crayon, Tully Craft, and the Softies, the Hurricane Lamps have created a sound all their own.

In the vocals, Eric Tischler obviously nods to various Britpop vocalists with his slightly pompous ‘tude, but he remains un-wankerous. At times, though, Tischler’s vox can be annoyingly high-pitched, whiny, strained, and grating (take your pick at different intervals), especially on “Turn Me On”, but overall Tischler resorts to a classic pop delivery in a joyous hush, singing wonderfully and un-gratingly on a majority of the tunes.

Song structurally, I’ve heard it said that the Lamps are a pop-punk band, but any pop-punk associations given to them now should be well cautioned and everyone admonished that the Lamps own little in common with the widely known pop-punk of New Found Glory and Good Charlotte. Yes, the band contains a punk edge to their pop tunes, but they lay a heavy emphasis on the pop, an off-kilter pop at that.

More interesting than bland, sappy, sad bastard indie pop, the Hurricane Lamps’ Sing Me a Song revels in song craftsmanship, not song appearance. Drawing comparisons in the past from everyone to My Bloody Valentine to the Smiths to the Wedding Present, the Lamps have much to live to up to, but don’t seem wholly aware of any of the lofty juxtapositions as the album is filled with plain and simple pop tunes.

What isn’t to love?

PopMatters