Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Revelers - Hard Times Sunday Spirits - 1998


With the Cleveland scene frequently being haplessly written off as the long-stale formerly fertile stomping ground for volatile acts like Pere Ubu, the Dead Boys, Pagans, and Rocket From the Tombs, many critics and fans have failed to pay much attention to the city, save for a handful of releases by the crew at Scat Records (which counts, or has counted, among its roster acts like Prisonshake, Gem, Four Coyotes, Guided by Voices, and Cobra Verde, to name just a few). However, groups like the Revelers should help re-energize the city's scene (and hopefully steal it back from the wave of nu-metal overrunning it). Granted, the Revelers aren't exactly reinventing the rock & roll wheel, but they play with enough verve and enthusiasm to make up for what they may lack in originality. The perky brand of (faux) Brit garage pop they play makes their list of influences clear, and each guitar chord struck is like shouting out the name of a favorite band. The Who, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles shine through most often, as the band works to balance their fondness for gritty rock and sugary pop. Album-openers "Meet Me at the Station" (and its album-closing counterpart, "Waiting for the Train") and "Silver Ship" are among the album's clear standouts, the former with its sweet and sad refrain of "We're gonna find it/Something better/Someday," and the latter with its expert grasp of the importance of the hip-shakin' danceability that made the first wave of garage pop so great to begin with. Vocally, the band has a knack for writing pleasant, harmony-backed melodies, and the vocal style is endearingly non-overbearing, perhaps even a little plain at times (often similar in key and phrasing to similarly soft-spoken fellas like Rivers Cuomo and Joey Sweeney), but in a world full of third-rate Thom Yorkes, it's actually kind of nice. While the songs on Hard Times Sunday Spirits are all equally strong, fun, and likable, the band's sound and style are established very early on and aren't challenged much for the duration of the album's 14 songs. Basically, this means that if you like the first seven songs, you'll probably like the last seven just as much, but when it's over you won't be able to differentiate track six from track 11. However, if the worst thing that can be said about an album is that the songs are fun to listen to, but they sort of all blend together into one big fun song, that's probably not such a bad thing. Dust off the old dancing shoes. -AMG


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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Many thankx for this record friend.

Nicolas.

Johnny Lebrel said...

Really great power-pop album in the WHO style!!!

thanks!

Silversuit said...

I am loving this album. Cheers!

Bill said...

Solid record, but bettered in most regards by the follow-up DAY IN, DAY OUT. "Detroit Bridge" is one of the great garage-pop singles of the past 10 years. R.I.P. Revelers.

John said...

Great Stuff! PPO delivers again!

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