Saturday, May 19, 2007

Neither Hot Nor Cold

Auto Interiors, Let's Agree to
Deceive Our Best Friends
, Rykodisc


Now everybody's breakin' up somebody else's home,
before somebody else starts breaking up their own.
-- Elvis Costello, "Sneaky Feelings"

Based on the title of their second album,
I was expecting something with more...edge. Or attitude. Or something.
It brings to mind Elvis Costello's anthem of frustration,
"Sneaky Feelings." In addition, the off-kilter ferris wheel
photos that decorate the disc raised my expectations
(I have a thing about spirals, mandalas, etc.).

This Boston quartet's approach to alt-rock/power pop isn't bad, but I don't hear much—or enough, at any rate—that sets them apart from the pack. Sometimes they sound shoegaze, sometimes mod—it's partly due to Eric Waxwood's Paul Weller-meets-Costello voice—but that just makes me want to listen to the Jam. Or Blur. Or Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. Maybe even the Kaiser Chiefs.

The press notes claim they once worshipped at the My Bloody Valentine altar. Now they've moved onto the Kinks. Guitarist Larry Mansdorf quips that they play "record collector rock." The notes add that their collections include T-Rex, Big Star, the Small Faces, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the New Pornographers, and Sloan. I'll buy that. This tasteful foursome isn't imitating
any of those acts, but they're in the same basic ballpark.

Whenever a group is competent in all regards—singing, playing, writing, etc.—I feel I should give them an automatic thumbs-up, but if they don't do anything for me, that doesn't seem completely honest. I neither hate nor love Let's Agree to Deceive Our Best Friends. I'm lukewarm about it. Of course, the Good Book (Revelation 3:16) has that great line, "So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of
my mouth." I wouldn't go that far in the case of Auto Interiors,
but a little more "heat" would surely do them good.



Endnote: Images from the Auto Interiors MySpace Page and the AMG (the Jam). For the record, I am not, have never been, and never will be a Christian...but I can't deny the power of certain Biblical passages. Incidentally, I once tried to read The New Testament in Spanish, but had to give up. It's an interesting way to brush up on a language—and an important text (regardless as to your personal beliefs)—but alas, I do not have the patience of Job.

2 comments:

Doug said...

The press notes claim they once worshipped at the My Bloody Valentine altar. Now they've moved onto the Kinks. Guitarist Larry Mansdorf quips that they play "record collector rock."

Sounds like the Lilys!

kathy fennessy said...

Good point! For anyone who isn't familiar, here's a link to their AMG bio: http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:dxfwxq95ld6e~T1