Some groups sound so damn polite, like they would take you in if you showed up on their doorstep shivering in the freezing rain and give you some dry clothes, a seat by the fire and a warm drink. Lake are one such group. Some of their songs sound downright churchly. The Free Design always gave me the same impression, dealing in lush, bucolic pop paintings that could only offend if you find politeness offensive.
On their new album Forever or Never they leave the Olympia, K Records stable for the pastures of Hamburg, Germany’s Tapete records. The band are still based around the Puget Sound, now calling Whidbey Island their home. Label change aside, the band continue down their garden path into summer’s cauldron with everything in full bloom. Songs like Christian Comedians with its lush string parts takes some cues from Seeds of Love era Tears for Fears and XTC‘s Skylarking. You can almost see the pollen floating in the air. Other tracks hint at light 70’s funk akin to Hall and Oats, while many are fine with just being their unique brand of childlike wonder juxtaposed with smooth rock vibes.
Lake sound like real pros dealing in stealthy psychedelia. Everything is proper, fully enunciated and always polite. Come in out of the rain and warm up to Forever or Never.
Stream / Buy Lake – Forever or Never.
When I hear Spray Paint sing the refrain to Yawn Factory: “She drives a heavy load in the dark part of the country.” This image pops into my head of Large Marge in her big rig describing to Pee Wee the “the worst accident I ever seen”. Spray Paint are not the worst accident I ever seen, they are more like a traffic jam. Their spare twin guitar and drum attack pierce you’re conscious and create anxiety, stress and general disquiet. Spray Paint can grate on you and grow on you all at once.
After two attention grabbing singles the Austin band have released their first full length album. The songs are short and taut with lyrical spikes as well a guitar ones. The best ones on the record seem to come at the beginning of the album. Canadian Trash, Yawn Factory and Nose Whiskey all grab your attention. The second half of the record suffers from the band’s inability to ease up and let a little space into their claustrophobic and hyperactive sound. A little more variation would provide more space for impact. In that respect it reminds me a little of XTC‘s White Music. Maybe they should have tried a Dylan cover to lighten the load.
The album may not be an out and out winner, but I really like it. Spray Paint are working with a different set of instructions than most of today’s indie/ punk bands. They sound part Terminator futuristic and part back woods Deliverance.
stream: Spray Paint – Yawn Factory (from their Self-Titled album out on S.S Records)