In a case of “better late than never,” I recently came across No Idea artists Bridge & Tunnel– formed from the ashes of favorites Latterman, this New York-based band draws comparisons to the seemingly distant sounds of emo’s Midwestern swing.
Popularized by the likes of the Get Up Kids, Enkindel (or The Enkindels), and to a certain extent, Chamberlain, Bridge & Tunnel’s brand of rock is both incredibly moving, and easy to connect with. Their guitars fuzz with distinction and their male/female vocal spark works almost effortlessly- coming across as an aching brand of raw; not overly produced or textured. At times, they remind me a little of Boxer- both in production quality and musicianship (save the uptempo elements of Boxer’s material), and if you are a fan of the aforementioned, you will definitely want to reminisce a little with this.
The only problem thus far is that they’ve only managed a 7″ record (which came out in May of 07)- 4 songs that wet your appetite but does little to satiate that hunger for more. Nonetheless, a little is better than none, and its success resides in its leaving the listener with the anticipation a full length release- which we hope is not too far off on the horizon.
(No Idea Records)
Hatchie – Keepsake
Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars
Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.
There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.
However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.
The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.