The Hurricane Lamps: Sing Me a Song

Jeffrey Ellinger

The Hurricane Lamps

Sing Me a Song

Label: Sonic Boomerang
US Release Date: 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?





The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.