This is the latest release from LA dreampop stalwarts The Autumns. This review is the latest in my continuing series of reviews of EPs.
Le Carillion starts off with Thieves In Blue which is a light song of chiming guitars and subtle melodies. There is the feel of the sunset over the Pacific after a long day spent sweating. It makes me think of The Beach Boys. It sounds like the music that the band was playing at the dance in Back To The Future before Michael J Fox started playing guitar -- slow, polite, and inoffensive pop from the 1950's. It's not a bad song, but if i heard it on the radio, there is a pretty good chance that i would flip to another station to see what's on.
And yet.... And yet this song sticks with you. The first few times that i listened to this EP i thought i hated this song. But then the other day i was walking to the Publix to buy some bananas, and i realized that i was humming it.
And, well, it is catchy. And nice. And light. So i guess i don't hate it, but it took many listens before i realized that i liked it.
At any rate, i am not at all ambivalent about Quite, the next track. This is a typical Autumns song, complete with layers of subtle fuzz on the guitars, and string sweeps in the background. Overall, this song has a light dreamy feel. The guitar-work seems very "brit pop", which is pretty typical of The Autumns. This is a nice little song, and a real treat for their fans.
Up Next is Slow Kiss which starts with slow arpeggios. It's a happy and cheesey little love song. Again, it sounds like the kind of music that kids in the 1950's listened to as they went to the Sock Hop. I listen to this, and suddently i want a chocolate malted.
The EP ends with She Whispers The Winter Snow, which
is a decent tune. There are little "ba ba ba" backing vocals
and hand claps. It's a sunshiney pop song that bears a strong
resemblence to the early 90's work of The Ocean Blue. It is
happy British pop re-interpreted in an obviously American way.
So those are the four songs that make up this 12 minute release. Overall i say that it is not the strongest release that i have seen from The Autumns. The whole EP is buried under a weight of sugar and happiness. It is as if The Autumns consciously went out and tried to record something that was not moody like their previous releases.
And i think that shows: the mood is consciously upbeat. The
Autumns are telling themselves with each song that life isn't
that bad, that depression isn't silly, and that the grey moods
and minor chords of earlier releases are unnecessary in life.
They are trying to convince themselves of this by playing sheer
happiness in 4 / 4 time over and over and over again until they
believe it. But i don't think that they do. This music starts
out tounge in cheek, but towards the end the teeth are thoroughly
clenched and the smiles are utterly forced.
The mood seems unsincere to me, especially listening to all 4 tracks at one sitting. However, the songs are all pretty good, and one here or there, spread out among some other listening (like placing Le Carillion as one CD in the 5 disc changer and hitting "random") it's pretty good.
So if you are already an Autumns fan, this is worth picking up. If you are not a fan yet, then you might want to start elsewhere.