Music Reviews

Little Wings



You’re gorgeous – did you know that? I think that maybe you had a pretty good idea already, even underneath all of that lo-fi modesty and splintered music. Now I’ve got another perfect summer album to while away my days with! But lemme tell you, Little Wings’ Wonderue is the one that’s going to be playing on tinny boomboxes and speakers positioned outside bedroom windows, mixing in with the cricket ambience of early autumn evening twilights. Talking with long forgotten friends and family, picking at the sleeves of a fading Celtic Frost T-shirt, watching the fireflies and arguing over which wrestler is on steroids. It reflects those days, in the best way possible.

“The Shredder Sequel” laments the future of heavy metal kids left behind by lightning fast MTV teen pop world domination, and maybe your feathered hair isn’t the thing to woo the young ladies, and in fact maybe they’re snickering and laughing a little behind their baggy jeans and streaked bangs. Bastards. They’ll never know how good “Fuck Like a Beast” sounded or how purely you’ll be able to execute a Steve Vai guitar solo. But this delicate lament couldn’t be a more perfect send-off.

That they can begin “Treat It Kind” with a lengthy (it’s gotta be) minor chord outburst and then a Valium strum intro, that gives way to a instinctive perfect pop swoon that could even make Scott Walker and Bacharach jealous, without any pretension at all, you know these gents are on to something. All gentle piano flourishes and brushed drums, with quiet echoey vocals wondering on the lengths of attachment. The falsetto is a devastating weapon of emotional warfare. My only complaint is that the song is barely four minutes long. “Si Si” follows it up in the same vein and is almost as good, and with a lyric like, “Oh, how I enjoy the light,” how can I not worship?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite when I have to choose between the piano depression with a rusty-trip hop beat that opens wide into eye-opening Smiley pop of “I Saw Reflections,” the downbeat majesty of “Understand,” or the epic “doo, doo, doo, doooos” of “Do Be.” Fuck, man, “Light Be Bright” is even a sing-a-long and I’m a big mark for those nowadays.

Chamber pop and backyard laments jell perfectly. The instruments are burnished and lacquered, old acoustic guitars, all scratched up from fevered downstrokes. Beat down pianos, and Mo Tucker’s cast off drum kits — making that good pure musique that all of them O Brother… fans keep clamoring on about. And them vocals are a little Barlow-tacious, that same creak and crack, that same dusty deadpan that is afraid to let loose and just fully howl out the pain and punishment that suburban hell thumbscrews on him. That’s what the falsetto is for. It’s just better. This is the small town melancholy soundtrack that I’ve been waiting for.

K Records:

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