On the Chewing Gum Floor
In order to ensure you have something to smile about when you think back on 2008, K Records opened a sealed bomb-shelter and released the lads of Wallpaper back into the world. Employing the time-honored tradition of mining every other garage revival movement for “new” material, Wallpaper’s debut album On the Chewing Gum Floor is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of the year. It’s got jangly guitars, great hooks, boisterous harmonies and easy lyrics to sing along to. In a word, it’s fun.
This Auburn, WA, trio is probably best understood in the light of their influences. A cursory listen to On the Chewing Gum Floor will probably bring a dozen bands to mind. There is a bit of early Orange Juice in there, a lot of the Kinks and of course you can’t miss The Beatles. More contemporary influences include REM, the Apples in Stereo, Pavement and Spiritualized. Oh, and that’s just the first half of the album. “Pop Rocket” comes right out and references heroes Elvis, Dylan, Lennon and Cobain, saving the listener the trouble of wondering whether or not these guys are aware they sound like a million other bands. They are aware of their conformity, but they make no apologies. These guys have been lurking around record shops for too long, following the breadcrumbs of popular music back decade by decade right to the source. Along the way, they employ almost every early rock and roll gimmick without really sounding lame. They are having too much fun to be accused of ripping anyone off. Of course, it goes without saying that Wallpaper never quite lives up to their heroes, but that’s not really the point.
On the Chewing Gum Floor is funny, jangly, sloppy and maybe just a few tracks too long. Near the end of the album, a few songs lose a bit of the bounce that makes cuts like “Pop Rocket” and “Nod Off” so compulsively joyful. That’s okay though. The trio summarizes the entire album nicely with “Rock and Roll World” and invites listeners to share their enthusiasm for honest, youthful rock and roll.
K Records: www.krecs.com