If there’s really such a thing as an Indie Rock Star, the title could easily be applied to Vermont’s Davey von Bohlen and Dan Didler. Not for their work under the moniker Vermont, but for the poppy racket they create as the Promise Ring. In contrast to the high energy pop typical of the Promise Ring’s last two records, Living Together features 11 mostly acoustic songs.
There’s a grandmother somewhere squeezing this record’s cheeks while saying “You’re so cute!” over and over again. Davey von Bohlen will perpetually be the little boy with puppy dog eyes in jeans and a T-shirt with dirty knees and a rip in his shirt from too much football down at the park. You can’t really blame him for milking that innocent appeal for all it’s worth. It’s all over the place on this record, as well as everything the Promise Ring has done. And as much as we hate to admit it, and as much as we complain that he can’t sing one bit, it works on all of us. We can’t say no to Davey and whatever band he brings along with him.
I’m supposed to be a critic here, and all I’ve done is gush about how great these guys are while neglecting to tell you that Living Together is a vastly inferior record to the rest of their output as the Promise Ring. It’s unavoidable to look down on this record because of their past successes, but I doubt that the band cares. Living Together is a carefree album that the band would love you to hear and invites you to like, but I’d be willing to bet that they would understand if you preferred the amplified stuff.
Kindercore Records, P.O. Box 461, Athens, GA 30603