Counterfeit Jeans are a trio from Edmonton, Alberta. It's a city in that vast plains part of Canada that i know nothing about. In fact, the only thing that i know about Edmonton is that they have a hockey team called The Oilers, and i only know that because i have a cousin who is a rabid Pittsburgh Penguins fan and i have heard him talk about the sport.
Apparently out there in the Canadian plains they make noisy indie rock, such as the music that Counterfeit Jeans make on their self-titled debut record. This is solid, noisy punk. It has a lo-fi feel to it and a rapidness to it that seems spontaneous, like these guys just hang out and this is what happens. It feels like a local band that you haven't discovered yet, like wandering into a club and there are some guys you kinda recognize from somewhere in town just hammering it out on stage, and, what the heck, they are good! You stand there thinking, "That quiet guy from the coffee shop down the corner is a good guitarist? Huh."
It seems like the distilled essence of a hundred records i own, and a couple dozen bands that i have seen, both local Atlanta acts and random touring bands. That is not to say that Counterfeit Jeans are derivative or unoriginal, but rather to say that they work within a space that i am very familiar with. The fact is, they do a very good job in this space.
The record starts with two minutes of noisy pop called Black Light, the guitarist riffing through some crunchy cords in the middle. And then they segue into No Desire, a really great rocker. This song is catchy and bouncy with fast muttered vocals. It moves along at a toe-tapping pace, and the overall effect reminds me of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, only a little noisier. A really great tune.
Counterfeit Jeans get their Rodan on for Gemini with clattering reggae guitar and a groovy bass riff. It gets all mathy with odd rhythms as it moves along. And then the guitarist stomps on the overdrive and gets all J Mascis-y for Generation, a nice rocker.
On Fairy Ring, the band brings in someone or someones known as "Wares". I am not sure if this is another band, a remixer, another guitarist, or what. I guess this is someone else from the Edmonton scene. The thing is, i canít really detect any difference. This is a normal Counterfeit Jeans song that bounces along with heavy riffs on the choruses and sparser riffs and shouted vocals on the choruses. It's a good tune. I wonder what "Wares" added?
On Breeder the guitars clatter and echo like an early U2 song, the guitar that kind of trebly chiming that The Edge did. The drummer adds some scattered drumming and the bassist thumps a mighty riff, all adding up to some U2-ishness. But the voice is wrong, the vocalist here refusing to step down from his indie rock yowl to a Bono vocal swagger. And that's okay as it all works together.
On The Summer the vocalist bellows in a staccato manner that reminds me of Mark E. Smith, but the voice is almost lost in the mix. The guitars are catchy here, and the song kind of bounces along nicely.
"Satan blasts the place we sleep" he sings on Sleep. I think. It's kind of hard to hear exactly what he is saying over the fast drumming and speedy guitars. This is a great fast tune, even if the words are vague and / or odd.
And then finally they end with Disorder, which, and close to seven minutes, is the longest song here. It is also the slowest, the drums a flat pounding as the guitar chimes slowly. It brings the record to a slow, noisy conclusion.
They do a great job. I hope to hear more from these people. I would love to see them play at The EARL here in Atlanta, but i would advise them to not come visit us in the summer. Atlanta temperatures can seem awfully brutal to our Northern friends...