Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cobblestone Pop: 'Alison Statton' by Pants Yell!

You might find yourself in the mood now and then for some simple, understated, unencumbered indie-pop. And for those moods there is Pants Yell!, a Boston trio that pulls off the whole preppy-poppy-artsy-bookish- smart-guys-in-argyle act a hell of a lot better—and a lot less self-consciously— than (the overrated?) Vampire Weekend.  Where VW steal (a bit too blatantly?) from a thief, Pants Yell! are at once more sophisticated and somehow more refreshingly approachable. 

They sure wear their hearts and influences on their cardigan sleeves...and their record sleeves... The title of their second and most recent LP is 'Alison Statton', an homage to the singer in quiet-is-the-new-loud pioneers and classic twee forebears Young Marble Giants.  And the ode is telling.  That band, along with kiwi-pop-kings The Clean, are probably the two major touchstones for Pants Yell!.   

Jangling guitars, horns, glockenspiels, and literate lyrics that'd make Stuart Murdoch blush...  Spring is as good a season as any to bounce around to these lads' tunes.  It sounds unapologetically anglophilic at first (like an American version of Clientele, on Zoloft), but there's something distinctly New England, even specifically Boston, about the music (think Jonathan Richman, Galaxie 500, not Aerosmith).  It's perfectly suited for cobblestone streets and bookshop romances, little city side-street moments...  

Andrew Churchman's lyrics braid post-academic ennui with romantic flirtations and an observational sublimation of the banal.

A few good characteristic lines...
"I wore that t-shirt / and I thought of you. / I want to be good. / Is that not enough / when you love the city?"
(from "Tried to Be Good")  

"I was looking for a job / and when I found a job / I took it out on everyone I knew." (from "Two French Sisters") 
We can all relate to that!  More than to forced wit and forced rhymes, no? (Louis Vuitton and reggaeton? Come on!)


"Magenta and Green" by Pants Yell!:


'Alison Statton' is out now on Soft Abuse.  

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