wear their love for all things Pavement firmly and bloodlessly on
their sleeves like a badge of courage or a bent and discolored rock
button. Nuthin' wrong with that, 'cept these days it seems like
everyone's paying homage to that band, just as you could argue that
Pavement was an homage to the Velvets' more rustic moments.
What made Pavement precious
was their ability to grind out a memorable tune amidst the strange
and sometimes startling chaos of electric-noodle guitars and slam-bam
rhythms, knowing that they're too white to give you the funk you
need. Instead, they came off as a post-boogie band on acid, proudly
wallowing in the low-fi muck because that's where they wanted to
Burns has a similar, albeit slightly evolved quality. They're not
low-fi, and they sound like they actually care. That alone sets
them apart from Malkmus and Co. The clencher is an all-consuming
love for heartfelt, sunbeam melodies that are smart and rock without
sounding cheesy. You could call them a throwback band to the great,
soft garage rockers of the '60s except that they lack the innocence
that sold those acts, replacing it with world-worn ennui in sneakers.
Choice cuts: sneering
breakup song "Go Back to Japan" (I found me a woman
who makes me feel like a man / So go back to Japan), sneering
heartbreak song "On My Own" (I'm trying hard not to
think about you / Oh shit, oh no, I did it again). Best of the
lot, the simple acoustic crush song "Half Hugs," about
as perfect an indie pop track as you'll find right down to the uncertain,
slacker vocals and buzz-guitar counter.
One of the best local
collections I've heard this year. Too bad it's not getting the distribution
Posted Aug. 25, 2003.
Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
could call them a throwback band to the great, soft garage rockers
of the '60s except that they lack the innocence that sold those
acts, replacing it with world-worn ennui in sneakers."