Monday, July 9, 2007

Reviews:: Black Before Red Belgrave to Kings Circle

Black Before Red has some pretty big shoes to fill. Their influences and sound really relies on two styles that have very critical fans. They freely jump into the Sea & Cake bass heavy/harmonious silky jams, but they balance those tracks with a heavy dose of West Coast 60’s pop (I shy away from saying the Shins because I don’t really hear it a lot of the band in their songs). Pleasing either one of those audiences is a challenge, let alone both.

Surprisingly, the debut release – Belgrave to Kings Circle – holds up quite well. The record opens with Underneath Gold and you can’t help but think about Prewitt and Prekop. The snap of the drums and vocal delivery (harmonies) are bang on, and the free moving bass line pushes the track along nicely. It sets the tone for the record, which is summery and fun – especially when the horns take over during the last 50 seconds. It’s the type of song that you throw on as you drive out of the city and find yourself absent-mindedly drumming along on the steering wheel.

Despite how successful this track is, the band (wisely) doesn’t plant itself in that singular vibe. The record changes pace immediately and Matagorda is a light, plunky piano track that uses a marching band snare and accordion and they continue to try out new sounds for the rest of the record. Our Last Summer is a bit more chaotic, using static and feedback to dirty up the shimmering their pop style, but Goddess in Trauma is the song that really shows how well the band can play both sets of influences. The track takes on a Sea and Cake sound in the verses, but on the chorus and bridge, they throw in perfect pop guitars, some ohhhs and hand claps to add a new twist.

The record flows well, as Bosa Nova #7 and Finding Peace in the City won’t turn you off from listening (especially the intense hand clap/harmonica section of Bosa Nova #7), even if they aren't as inspired as other numbers. It’s these songs, that by all means are still very pleasant to the ears, that really showcases the potential the band has. When they come back with Teenage America, you are instantly paying attention. Halliberlin Petroleum is infectious and their recipe of harmonies, jangled guitar and bouncing bass line whets any music lover’s appetite.

For a debut record, Black Before Red delivers enough good songs to convince any doubter and it’s a record that is getting better with each and every listen.
MP3:: Underneath Gold
MP3:: Teenage America

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Posted at 5:08 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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