Pretty phenomenal back to front, but it meant that today, day one of SX, I was taking it slow...in the afternoon I did catch Matt the Electrician playing a benefit show at Guero's. Many shows here have become spur-of-the-moment benefits as SX reacts to the events in Japan. (Sahara Smith raised $100 for the Red Cross on Tuesday night just by putting out a jar + mentioning it once.) Then snuck out later this evening to see one of my favorite new Austin bands, Black Books, who boast the rarely seen drummer/lead singer, and play a kind of off-kilter dream-pop...their "Maria" lit it up + served as the highlight of my night. On the way home caught Amber Digby, honky-tonky modern country girl from Houston, playing the Continental. And tomorrow back into the madness...
"Uptempo" and "Pop" are by themselves two concepts that - in the business of being an indie band - can take you quite far; but if on top of that you add to the equation also comparisons to The Smiths, then the hype can get out of control. Brooklyn's Drowners have more than one similarity with Morrisey's act, and although they will surely feel belittled by such comparison, they should not, because no artists really managed to be The Smiths' worthy musical heir yet (like, for example, XTC were for The Beatles, Robin Hitchcock for Syd Barrett, and The Strokes for Lou Reed - uhm, maybe...).
The band's 3 songs debut EP features the remarkable single "Between Us Girls" (streaming below) which immediately throws us back to the days of "Meat is Murder," with the electric guitar alternating between jangly parts and arpeggios, and Welsh frontman Matt Hitt singing semi-melancholically about some girls' hair length - rather than about how big they are... The edge is slightly punkier, while the songwriting reveals an almost clinical concision (the song clocks in just under 2 minutes, with the first chorus coming in after 26" - A&R allergic to intros will dig that).
The second song, "You've Got it All Wrong," beats a similar musical path, tackling the infinite well of inspiration that (for Brits) is life at the pub, with the difference of a slower bridge, which acts as a breather for the final chorus. Final track "A Shell Across the Tongue" is the punkier of the bunch, but also the one with the least memorable melody.
This is obviously a band with enormous songwriting potential. If they'll manage to write songs as good as these and integrate their influences in a more mature and personal sound, the world can be theirs. - PDG