First impressions don’t always count, I guess.
I knew nothing of this band – who have actually been around for a while, this being their 3rd album – until that Lettermen performance went a bit viral. And like Brother Guy, I was kind of appalled by Samuel T. Herring (what a name!)’s vocals, which I just couldn’t get over. He was certainly soulful, but the hystrionics made it feel kind of ridiculous.
And then, bit by bit, I’d keep hearing from various friends about how much they loved the album. So, like you, I came to this cold and expected little. And to start with, I wasn’t all that sure. His voice is less Marmite in the mix of this rather smart and crisp 80-influenced production. But neither did it grab me that much. Not on the first or second listen. But by the third or fourth, I was doing that thing you do when you know it’s got you – you go straight back to the beginning and play it again.
Twin Shadow is a looming comparison it’s impossible not to make. Like TS, the band take an 80s sound that could come across and self-conscious and make something organic of it. That’s down to the sound being well-crafted and to some pretty solid songwriting hooks. It’s an odd package but it works surprisingly well.
Is it my album of the year? No. (current candidates: St Vincent, East India Youth, Beck, Todd Terje) Will I be playing it in a year’s time? I’m not sure, but it’s possible. I still play the first Twin Shadow album regularly (the 2nd one, not though – it didn’t have any staying power). I hear they’re also a blow-away act live, so that might be fun to do too.
File under: surprisingly palatable and tasty.