Tag Archives: Even

405. Icecream Hands – “Memory Lane Traffic Jam”

Icecream Hands seem to have always been around the Melbourne music scene.

Purveyors of a power pop with roots in the work of those Beatles guys (amongst others), and similar in sound (at times) to Weezer, my sense is that the band never achieved anywhere near the success levels they might have deserved.

Indeed, there are fellow Melbourne bands of the power-pop ilk, such as Even and Snout, who I suspect shifted substantially more units than the ‘Iceys’ in the mid-late 90s.  Perhaps it was the persistence with a two-word name that held them back (although that didn’t seem to hurt Big Star).

Anyway, to the CD itself. It’s a well-engineered, well-written and well-executed excursion into the somewhat jangly power-pop world.  Chuck Jenkins has an ideal warm voice for the genre.

The songs are somewhat delicate and take a little time to open up to the listener.  There are no big washes of guitar or killer riffs to grab the attention, nor any massive swings in tempo.  Alas, there aren’t really any super memorable choruses either.

I’m pretty sure this was their full-length debut, and it was a nice entrée into their world, but not a slam dunk in any way.  But, I was willing to persist…

File under: Promising roads ahead

363. The Greenhornes – “Dual Mono”

Jumping from one review to the next, it is hard not to make connections between the albums.

So, slipping this album out of the record stack and returning ‘Grease’ to its sleeve, I am predisposed to hear this LP as a retro effort.

I suspect that would have been the case irrespective. We jump forward from the cheesy early ’50s of slicked back hair and burgeoning sexual freedom, to the anything goes, lava-lamped, strobe-lit haze of the late 1960s.

The Greenhornes are a garage band with all the trimmings. They recreate the world where psychedelia meets British invasion, and nail the sound and vibe perfectly.

Put in an Australian context, these guys sound like a hybrid of Even, You Am I and Radio Birdman. So, it’s pretty tidy stuff and well worth throwing a stylus on.

The opener Satisfy My Mind is a pounding power-pop treat. The highlight involves a guest vocalist however. Holly Golightly pops in to deliver a perfect cameo on There is an End. It would serve as a perfect montage companion in some trippy ‘happening’:

File under: Cool phono

292. Even – “Less is More”

Despite my lukewarm affections for the band, I also own Even’s debut long-player on vinyl.

Giving it a rare pair of spinnings this afternoon, I stand (well, sit) pretty impressed.

Perhaps it’s the crackly, earthy sound of the platter and stylus, or just my relaxed post-work, beer-sipping demeanour, but I find this earlier work considerably more vibrant and energetic.

It sounds less like a tribute and more like a band with their own ideas.  It’s somewhat janglier and less consciously British.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve been listening to a bit of Big Star today (in honour of Alex Chilton’s passing), but I hear that same joyous love of the guitar power-pop artform.

Ash Naylor’s vocals and guitar work hook up well with Matt Cotter’s and Wally Meanie’s rhythm work.

This serves as a worthy companion piece to other Aussie retrograders like The Stems, You Am I, Icecream Hands, and even the Hoodoo Gurus.

This set would get my attention if they played it next time I stumble across them on a Fitzroy stage.

File under: I might scream for More

291. Even – “A Different High”

Anyone whose been to even a few gigs in Melbourne over the past decade and a half will have encountered Even, either on stage, or as gig attendees.

These guys personify the term”stalwarts.”  They are huge music fans and it shines through in everything they record.

Their fandom seems to predate their birthdates too. The menu offering here is an unashamedly mod-rock main course, with a Mersey-side side salad.

There is quite a bit to like here: a consistent sound; clean production; sweet vocal harmonising;  the rhythms you’d expect from this sort of sound, and well-constructed lyrics.

The problem is that there are very few surprises.  There isn’t that adaptation of the sound that you hear on the works of someone like Elliott Smith.

Sure, the lads don’t sway into the borderline parody of the 1960s we get from Oasis and, earlier, Lenny Kravitz, but at least those acts were out there delivering something raucous and vibrant.

This is all a little too subtle for my liking.  I can’t help but think these guys would have been the 6th best band in Liverpool back in the day.

I’ve never gone to see these guys headline a show.  They are great background support act fare.

File under: No risk of altitude sickness