Sunday, April 17, 2011

Echo and Chime

to Me


"An old-fashioned style pop album, albeit one with a perverse haunted feel."
-- press note description

I've given Crystal Stilts and Pains of Being Pure at Heart a try,
but I can't quite get with their program, though I can under-
stand the attraction. I love echo and chime, so you figure I'd
be all over those NYC outfits, but taste is a mercurial thing.

After one listen to Belfast's Girls Names, which shares a label
with the latter, I encountered the same exact ingredients, and
yet they appeal to me in a way their better known peers don't.

Click here for the "Bury Me" video.

While listening to Dead to Me, I've tried to pinpoint the differ-
ence, but I don't think it has anything to do with superior music-
ianship. If anything, the drumming seems a bit sluggish. It's part-
ly that they remind me of understated, dark-tinged UK guitar
groups like Felt. Their bio also cites the Walker Brothers, Oran-
ge Juice, Black Tambourine, and the Sound of Young Scotland.

It isn't goth or Joy Division-style post-punk, but there's a melan-
choly air to this material, starting with vocals mixed so low they
melt into the music, much like another instrument, rather than
the focal point of the enterprise. They're just loud enough that you
can hear some, but not all of the lyrics. The advantage to this ap-
proach is that one listen doesn't reveal everything. You have to
pay closer attention...assuming you're sufficiently intrigued.

Click here for "Séance on a Wet Afternoon."

The closing track, "Séance on a Wet Afternoon," marks the first
Girls Names
song I ever heard. I don't know whether they took
the title from the book or the movie, but it's a great choice either
way, and aptly encapsulates the rainy-day mood of their debut.

Endnote: For more information, please click here. First im-
age from Your Music Today, second: Béla Tarr's Sátántangó.

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