If you come
around these parts enough then you probably know we don't
really play the "album review" game. We like to
recommend/suggest/insinuate, and that's about it.
However, it wouldn't be fun unless we made a few exceptions
here and there, and that's why I happily said yes when a
local duo known as the Long Tangles asked me to be the first
to spew out a few words about their upcoming full length,
Before I delve into the duo's new effort, I do want to fully
disclose that over the years Courtney and Earl have become
friends of mine. Fear not though, I won't be unfairly
championing them just because we've given each other a few
high fives and hugs. Finer Things is a nice
effort, and I think it's the two of them taking a solid step
towards something that could be great, but it's not as
though it's the best thing to come out of Austin in the last
however long, and I won't be describing it as such.
So, with that tidbit out of the way, let's discuss this
By the way, when I say little, I mean exactly that.
The Finer Things tracklist is only seven-deep, but
fortunately it does sound as though the duo went for quality
over quantity. There's only one off-track, and it's
actually album opener "Drawing Conclusions." I like
its simplistic, yet slick arrangement and the soaring vocal
work from Courtney is well done, but there's a particular
stiffness to it that doesn't at all fit with the six other
tracks that make up Finer Things.
Don't let the song fool you though, as the rest of the disc
is inspired The anthemic "Victory" and the infectious
"Oh, River" both sound as honed as anything I've ever heard
from the Long Tangles. And yes, while both of the
songs certainly make my brain want to scream out Mates Of
State, they're are so well crafted and full of energy that
it's not hard to look past all the easy comparisons between
the two acts. As for the other tracks on Finer
Things, "I Want You," "Sentiment," and "San Ve San" are
all solid, upbeat pop tunes that you'll probably find stuck
in your head at some point. There's also the breezy
and effortless gem that is "Maricopa County," which is so
good it left me wishing that Finer Things had a few
more like it.
The Long Tangles are a SOTO-fav, so of course I'm going to
say they're a band to keep an eye on. Fortunately for
me, they made that statement easier by churning out a solid
effort that features some great highlights. If you
happen to decide to pick up Finer Things, the only
thing that will disappoint you is the short tracklist.
Long Tangles - Victory:
Long Tangles - Maricopa County:
Finer Things can be streamed and purchased at the
Bandcamp page. Also, if you like
this review, let me know and I may look into trying to make
time to do more. It could be fun. Plus, it gives
me an excuse to keep making Brad produce his nifty artwork.
- John Laird -
otherwise expressly stated, all text in this blog and any
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