The rock world has never been more at a lack for brilliant jangle-pop
than it is right now, at this very moment. And that is why the latest
record from Southern California's Greater California comes
as such a welcome treat. Not only does the music chime along with
a happy streak that makes it a perfect summertime, sitting-on-the-patio
album, but it is filled with a depth and musical sincerity that is
overwhelmingly welcome in this day of indie-pop bands with vocalists
unable to carry a tune or rock bands fronted by horrible, screaming
emo-wondervoices. All The Colors is filled to bursting with
jangling guitars, reverb-heavy vocal harmonies, and a decidedly Beach
Boys bent. The songs all have a particular summer sounding sound,
but with a darker, spookier side than the Wilson brothers ever provided
the world. While the sound is flushed out with marimbas and piano
at times, there are other spaces where 12-string electric guitar and
grooving bass lines carry the day.
The album gets rolling with bang on the poppy title track, backed
by bopping piano and lush vocal harmonies. Greater California not
only establishes their sound immediately, but clears any doubts that
they were weaned on Brian Wilson tunes and production. "Them
The Downs" rocks things up a bit more, with tremelo-heavy guitars
and a far more dynamic approach to song structure than anywhere else
on the record, dispensing with the surf vibe for a space-rock sound
with a propensity for heavy reverbs and eerily hung organs. There
are times when the band invokes the spirit of 60's psychedelic rockers
like The Zombies and others where the band approaches a classic
shoegaze sound, fusing their bright pop with an airiness not unlike
The Darkside or a weird edginess simlar to Spacemen 3.
On "It's Great" the band even channels some of the early
90's Manchester vibe, sounding a bit like The Charlatans UK
and a bit like a cleaner Ride
all mixed in with a ultra-jangly,
psychedelic Byrds overtone. And later, on "Pacific Ave.
Corridor" the band drops energy to an almost non-existent level
and slowly charges ahead with a beautiful instrumental track filled
with great resonance and depth before finishing up with the slow chimes
of "The Soft Lights", another beautiful song that would
fit in nicely next to Luna's slower, more spacey moments, until
the song breaks loose with horns and echoing 12-string guitar riffs
that float above a paisley-tinted bed of rock goodness. .
Are you in need of a great new summer record for 2009?
Here it is. Go get it. Love it. Remember exactly why the world loved
the Beach Boys so much, even without school fight songs and songs
about big, fast American cars.
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