Hey, What's That You Got There? Huh?: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 70

Disclaimer: Record reviews are a tricky business. It's one thing to enjoy music, but to pick out what you like (or dislike) about it? That being said, if I review your thing and I didn't like something, don't feel too bad. My opinion doesn't matter all that much. 

Cheap Clone - EP - Just Because Records / Peanut Butter Records - 4 songs - 7"

From what I gathered, there's not really an official title for this one. Is it self-titled? Is it "EP?" Is it "4 Songs?" Drew told me I could make up whatever I wanted, so make sure you visit a local record store and ask for "430 Eyes, One That Smiles." Anyway. The record kicks off in a real good way with "Barely Smile," which is a great power pop tune. Pretty harmonies, a tasteful guitar solo, a nice bridge; what more do you want? "This One/That One" has a total Replacements vibe. Does Roseanna sing the bridge or did Drew's voice get even higher? Speaking of other people singing, I believe Kevin takes the lead on "Isaac Newton's Eye," which reminds me a lot of "Isolation Drills." Jaworski has a knack for singing in a key that sounds like it's not quite in tune but still somehow works (listen to that Cripple Kid 7"). "430 Miles" closes it out with another great power pop tune. I like the stop-start bits, that's a nice touch. Maybe it's just because of the other members stepping up to the mic on certain songs here, but this one feels more like a group effort than previous efforts. Did you know I saw the phrase "cheap clone" out in the wild somewhere the other day? About a guitar or something? Huh. Nice cover art, too. The Just Because/Peanut Butter collaboration strikes again. Members of 9 Shocks Terror and Counter Intuits. 4/5

(probably available at pbrecs.bandcamp.com or justbecauserecords.bandcamp.com)

ITEM - Sad Light - Bands Of The Dealer - 8 songs - CD, cassette, download

I think I may have reviewed some other ITEM release a few years ago, but I cannot remember what I thought of it. Anyway, I guess that doesn't really matter since this is the new one. I can tell you it's indie rock, but that doesn't really mean anything and it also probably sounds completely different from whatever I called indie rock last week. But it is a sort of reverb-heavy, mostly clean "alternative rock." If I say this sounds like a Mahall's band, does that mean anything to anybody? Probably not. Per the group's Bandcamp page, they're "art rock for depressed cowboys who love modulation," and once you combine that with a line from "Somersault" about a "bottle of absinthe, I spilled it on your synth," you'll probably get a feel for what these guys are about. Something makes me want to say that this sounds like Captured Tracks, but I also don't think I have ever listened to a single Captured Tracks release, so I have no idea why I would want to say that. My biggest gripe with this is that a lot of the tempos are in the same area (and it's a pretty slow area) and a lot of the instrumentation is similar. I'm not saying that it's samey so much as that they have a style that they stick to, and perhaps it's not my style. I don't wanna call it emo, but at the same time I know some of my emo-liking friends would totally dig this. Sorta shoegazey at times, some artsy moves…I think you have to be in a certain mood to really feel this. One of my notes said "rainy day music." I think I could write this review on a different day and I would say entirely different things. But is that true of almost anything? I don't know. My highlights were the Beatlesque/60s psychedelia of the coda of "Somersault," "Witching Hour," which had a part that almost reminded me of Pulp but not quite, and "Green Bridge," which picks up the pace, has some nice jangly guitar that reminded me of "Tonight She Comes" by The Cars and some song off of "Isolation Drills" (two things that ITEM sounds nothing like), and just serves as a good closer for the record. Overall, a decent release. I wish them the best. 3.2/5

(banditem.bandcamp.com, try an area store for physical copies)

Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email vaguelythreatening@gmail.com or send it directly to Observer headquarters: The Lakewood Observer, c/o Buzz Kompier, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Suite 205, Lakewood, OH 44107.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 3:09 PM, 05.15.2018