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The Churchills
You Are Here
(Abrupt/Universal)


The Churchills are a pop band from New York that relies heavily on infect ious melodies and shimmering harmonies. Echoes of Crowded House, Jellyfi sh and a touch of Material Issue taint the style of their music without o verpowering it. These songs are definitely creations of their own and ar e not merely copies. There is a familiarity that bolsters the impact of their smart pop music, keeping it accessible to folks without being so bl atantly pop that you wanna puke.

Opening up with the single "Beautiful," The Churchills put it out there i n black and white for us. There's a strong melody and copious amounts of winding harmony. Ron Haney has a full pop voice and a tempered guitar p laying style: comparisons to the Finn brothers or Jason Falkner wouldn't be out of line. Guitarist Kim Henry and bassist Bart Schoudel fill out t he harmonies perfectly while not overloading the song with too much backi ng. Kim takes the lead vocal on "Headstrong," demonstrating her abilitie s. She also has the perfect pop voice recalling everybody from Debbie Ha rry to Pat Benetar. The music is a bit beefier here, allowing their guit ar abilities to be displayed. "Maybe Make Me Okay" again features Henry' s vocals and more winding guitar lines. Their craftiness shines through as they slip overtly poppy constructs into the driving "Mysticated Girl." There are their now trademark guitar lines woven throughout the tapestr y of powerful guitar chords and sheets of classic vocal harmony. "Ex #1 Fan" is aided by a clever set of lyrics that I find amazing. The lyrical prowess keeps popping up throughout the record-check out "Gonna Take A L ot To Stay" for another example. "Cars" is not a cover of the Gary Numan tune, but is a timelessly built and very Beatle-esque "skiffle" type tun e. There's that herky-jerky rhythm, little extraneous noises and classic harmonies. It's very "Sgt. Pepper's" era. "Wrong Side Of Bed" begins w ith a lo-fi introduction before filling out into another full-on humable melody. These folks are not kitchy; this is good solid and honest pop mu sic.

The Churchills recall all those great pop bands of the late eighties and the like that should have been famous, but didn't get the wide acclaim. Although this music would be considered accessible to most of the pop-con suming public, it's not kiddie pop. This is strong guitar pop done in th e most classic of ways and will probably really appeal to one demographic of pop connoisseurs-the indie-pop fiends. This is real pop music, like the British know how to produce. The Churchills have certainly exceeded my preconceptions, and probably will do the same for you.

-tom topkoff

Track Listing:
1. Beautiful (Coulda Woulda)
2. Ex #1 Fan
3. Headstrong
4. Everybody Gets What They Deserve
5. Disposable
6. Gonna Take A Lot To Stay
7. Cars
8. Running In Circles
9. Wrong Side Of Bed
10. Cold As Steel
11. Mysticated Girl
12. Maybe Make Me Okay




 


Mike Doughty



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