Everybody Uh Oh

Everybody Uh Oh

Man am I Brad

Arborvitae

Let’s hear it for pure cojones: this band’s press release is bold enough to point out that they are from Champaign/Urbana, just like REO Speedwagon. That’s the Press Release of the Year in my book.

And this album goes down with a solid B+/A- in my book, too. The songs are weird agglomerations of emo, shoegazer, and alt.country, with some math-rock tossed in every once in a while for kicks, but they all work in different ways. I dig how power chords and sly electronics change the meaning of the “All the kids are out tonight” chorus in “Eunice,” and I double-dig how they follow it up with “Serious Mode,” which sounds exactly like The Drop Nineteens covering The Archies, and “s/t,” which is Her Space Holiday covering The Drop Nineteens.

But then things get weird. “Champaign’s Too Bright” is glam-slam for realz, big fat guitars and a cheesy drummy swing and a chorus of “How will they know that I’m rock and roll?” Rock and roll is very much the issue on “Keeping Up With the Joneses,” which might have fit onto Unwound’s last album except that it sounds too clear. They lose the thread a little on “U Pizzatron,” which is kinda boring except for its ace “Make it / Take it” hook, but they get it all back on seven-minute waltzdrone “The Long Band” and Cure-like closer “City Pride.” A very great little album for the boys from Speedwagonland, and I’m proud of ’em.

Boy, between this album and namelessnumberheadman’s record, I’m beginning to sense a new Breadbasket Omnipop movement all up in here. Actually, that sounds dumb, but not as dumb as Lower-Midwest-Kitchen-Sink-Rock, which was my other idea. Damn. Now I know why I let The Village Voice make up all the labels. Forget labels. Just listen to Everybody Uh Oh.

Arborvitae Records: http://www.team-av.com

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