There are many, MANY, power pop bands out on the scene today. A bi-product
of Fall Out Boy and Something Corporate, perhaps? Well
wherever the official origin came from, it's definitely a movement
that's going to be around for at least a few more years. The newest
contestant in the game is a band from Arizona called The Summer
Set, and while their sound is very similar to their predecessors
the group has a few defining characteristics to help them out.
The first major attribute that I see is the drumming and, more specifically,
the female behind it. Naturally, most have seen female vocalists,
and a few female guitarists/bassists, but a long-haired, delicate
lady behind the drum kit? Not something this writer was expecting.
Though to be completely honest, it's a role that while extremely important,
isn't really too defined by the person holding it. So I had no idea
that the excellent percussionist was of a different gender.
If you listen to one of the first numbers on their new album Love
Like This called "Chelsea," you'll automatically be
at ease with their music. While the song takes in a bit of '80s dance-electronic
effects, on a whole it's a number with a textbook melody for bringing
in the masses. The progressions are seamless and the lyrics are just
thought-out enough for someone to want to listen, while simple enough
to mesh into the rest of the song. Now, if I wanted to pick out a
song that was going to illustrate the capabilities of this group,
I'd have to go with "Young." It's taking in those '80s dance-electronic
effects and simplifying everything else around them. All the elements
are still there, but the drums stay fairly restrained and the guitars
pretty much just add melody without taking front stage. The reason
this song would automatically be picked is found in the the first
few moments; a simple strumming, basic beats, and nearly poetic vocals
are not a set of characteristics you'd expect from a power pop band.
Ok, so if you wanted to pick TWO songs to illustrate their capabilities,
then you'd add "Can You Find Me?" If you're going to be
technical, then by definition this number could be their ballad, but
really it's more just throwing something new into the equation. Talk
about simplifying things down, for the entire 3 minutes of this song,
(unless they're hidden) there's merely three members contributing,
as there is no apparent guitar/bass interaction and the drums are
scaled down significantly. The main players are Brian (vocals)
and Jessica (drums/electronic effects). Yes, the lyrics could
easily be love related, however most of their songs can be, so this
one is no different. A soft spot for this reviewer was hit on this
song, when about 2 minutes into it a few strings show up. Simply beautiful.
Ending an album is a science. You can't give away your best number
at the end, but you want to finish it on a good note and always leave
a nice feeling in your audience. For The Summer Set, their choice
for the finale was "Where Are You Now?" A smart choice?
Yes and no. The song is quite pretty and completely different from
the rest of the album (if that's even possible, as they're all different).
So it's a great feeling to leave everyone with, yet might be so good
that it could've used being a bit earlier in placement. Right away
a diamond-in-the-rough sentiment comes out, when Jessica adds in her
amazing voice. Choir level harmonies are easily met and set to the
sound of an acoustic guitar and at one point some porcelain keys.
This is one of those songs that will set the band above others like
them in the same genre such as The Cab and Anarbor.
And I would bet that it wasn't even on purpose. Still... diamonds.
Going into this album, there was a preconceived notion of just
another power pop album. It was a pleasant surprise to be proven
wrong. The chatter has started with this group and it's happily
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