Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
Click, Click, Click, Click
Review of Bishop Allen's The Broken String
Aubrey EdwardsNever have I claimed to be the fastest to get turned on to something, to be the one who discovers the next big thing. I’m far more tortoise than hare in these sorts of matters, but even then there’s not really any excuse for taking, oh, seventeen months to get around to writing up Bishop Allen’s last album The Broken String – or even longer if you think back to the year-long “one EP a month” series in 2006 from which much of the album is taken.
And it’s a pity I’ve waited so long, because I am very much in this record’s target market – namely fans of sprightly indie rock of the wordy variety. As such, stylistically and sonically, it’s very familiar stuff built on earnest boy lead vocals with sweet girl backing vocals and just enough interesting instrumental flourishes to disguise the fact that it’s pretty straight guitar-driven folk-pop. Where Bishop Allen stands out is in the songwriting, which is never less than solid but on a few occasions, is outstanding. Leadoff track “The Monitor” is a stirring and evocative piece about a Civil War naval battle, but that sort of lyrical grandeur is the exception rather than the rule – the standouts tend to be those the simple, slice of live observationals that are rendered in exquisite detail, as in “Flight 180” or “The Chinatown Bus”. They also handle the peppier stuff with vigor and aplomb, but it’s the slower, more thoughtful stuff such as above that really sticks.
Because of my neglect, I missed the band when they came through last Summer but I shan’t be skipping out on their just-announced January 17 date at the El Mocambo. Similarly, when their next album Grr… is released on March 10, you can be sure I won’t be taking a year and a half to give it the attention it deserves. The Justice has an interview with band principal Justin Rice.
MP3: Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”
MP3: Bishop Allen – “Middle Management”
MP3: Bishop Allen – “Rain”
Video: Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”
Video: Bishop Allen – “Middle Management”
MySpace: Bishop Allen
Ben Kweller and The Watson Twins are at the Mod Club on February 22, tickets $25. Spinner, The Smith College Sophian and The Irish Independent talk to Kweller, who will release a new album in Changing Horses on February 3. Stereogum are sharing the first single.
Blurt, Glide, ArtistDirect and The Toronto Sun make time with Rachael Yamgata, who will be at the Mod Club on Friday for an early show. She’s got not one but two new vids from Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart.