Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I Can't Go On, I'll Go On

Ever wonder about when a band you love abandons a tried and true sound to move on to something new -- like say, Radiohead ditching The Bends to make OK Computer, or U2 shaking off The Joshua Tree for Achtung Baby -- and whether the old sound is fair game for new bands to appropriate? Sometimes, as much as you like the new sound, would it be so bad if some upstarts picked up where the established act left off?

Although Wilco [Sorry Frank -- this can't be a Tweedy-free zone just yet] has been the product of an evolution the every twist and turn of which I have deeply and thoroughly enjoyed, I confess that there are times that I wouldn't mind an extra dose of that Summerteeth sound. Which is why the major label debut by Southern California's The Broken West pretty much had me at hello. Now maybe that's not a fair comparison -- there certainly are plenty of classic references in their sound to make the point, e.g., The Kinks, Big Star, George Harrison -- but the first time that I put on I Can't Go On, I'll Go On, it was like hearing the lost outtakes of Summerteeth, which is a compliment that I do not make lightly.

In my Of Montreal post, I talked about records that are growers -- records that sort of reveal themselves to you over time. I Can't Go On, conversely, is one of that immediately satisfies. This is an indie band with a pure and organic power pop sound and the perfect studio gloss. At once fresh and readily familiar, this sunny record is imminently hummable, all jangly guitars and sweet harmonies. My only complaint is that Atlanta is conspicuously absent from their upcoming concert schedule. Oh well, I'll be listening to this record for a while anyway.

Listen to "Down In The Valley"and "Hale Sunrise." Do yourself a favor and pick this one up next time you're at Criminal Records.

Quick update on the Po-lice. They are at least reuniting long enough to play at the Grammys this year. Ok, Stewart try not to piss Sting off and maybe we'll get a summer tour out of this.