Is Sunflower Bean an indie pop cliche?
Fourth album from these Brooklyn-based melodic rockers finds the band in psych-garage territory. What does that mean you might ask? Well, basically it’s mid-60s flavoured three-chord pedal-flooring bubblegum tunes with heavily reverb-drenched harmony vocals. Can’t decide whether the album is played straight or tongue-in-cheek – doesn’t really matter I suppose.
Tunes are kept simple as are arrangements but be warned that the lo-fi, echo chamber sound is artifice in the extreme. Oddly enough, the dreamy albeit atonal soundscape that is “Silent Minus” is one of my favourite moments on The Dead Age. It demonstrates that Unicycle Loves You has more to offer than the meat and potatoes spinning in a wash cycle ambience that characterizes too much of this album.
That said, one cannot help but be entranced by the much of the repetitive atmospheric motives of tracks like “Endless Bummer” and “Any Daydreaming Morning” where psychedelic flourishes rule the day, in a pleasant way. A mixed bag but worth checking out by modern rock fans.
Chris Kittrell aka Baby Alpaca is yet another Brooklyn artist aiming to make a significant impact on the American and world indie rock worlds. Whatever commercial successes might be ahead of him, this eponymous EP at least demonstrates that Kittrell has a pop-savvy musical head on his shoulders. ‘Classic Rock N Soul’ is how Kittrell chooses to describe his music and yet again, it is refreshing to find a songwriter pulling together the myriad strands of rock and pop references at the disposal of a smart pop artist in 2013.
These four songs will keep rock scholars reaching for their stock lists of influences and inspirations as they attempt to pigeon-hole Baby Alpaca’s agenda into neat little packages. But that is ultimately a futile and frivolous exercise. For me, it’s the manner in which Kittrell manages to take 70s R&B rhythms, 80s power chords, folk harmonies and post-punk melodies to forge reasonably distinctive songs. But even without such anorak-like analysis, it’s a simple pleasure to just enjoy the infectious “On the Roam”, the svelte “Run With You”, the smoky reverb-drenched “Sea of Dreams” and the soul-inflected “Wild Child” for what they are – quality pop songs!
Keep an eye (and ear) out for Baby Alpaca!
The early 90s were an exciting time for alternative rock. It was an epoch where edgy melodies met crunchy guitars with pummeling rhythms! Hell yes, it’s time for a 90s alt-rock revival and Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Dead Stars have no qualms declaring their intent to evokes the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur, Jr. in their delightfully tuneful rock agenda.
This five-track EP is a pleasing introduction to the wonders of Dead Star’s way with a melody and ups the ante with punk, country and folk vibes headily incorporated for a intoxicating brew. The one-two knockout punch of the rollicking “Waste Away” and sensitive “Let It Go” bring out all the best feelings rock n’ roll imparts – adrenaline pumping, wild abandon and the unconfined thrill of rock songs that hit the spot!
Consisting of Jeff Moore (guitar/vocals), John Watterberg (bass) and Jaye Moore (drums), Dead Stars is a power trio of the best kind – where that indeterminable touch of cool and homespun connection meld perfectly – the ultimate godsend for rock fans out there tired of all this fucking hipster bullshit!