The Pelicans

The Pelicans

London Crawling

Rub Wrongways

The Pelicans play an off-kilter, drugged-out style of rock & roll. Trying too hard to be The Strokes, the tracks on London Crawling come off as pretentious, contrived and insincere.

Don’t get me wrong, the instrumentation on this record is actually quite good, as it sounds like the guitarists are inspired (in some manner) by Sonic Youth. It appears, though, that the faux-hipster, “Lou Barlow in training” lead singer pulls the reins tight on the guitarists, as there’s evidence of guitars that could go nuts being jailed by the confines of bad Strokes impersonations. It’s tough you want to rock out with the crazy sounding guitar tone, but you can’t because it won’t sound enough like Sebadoh. Such is life. The drums are pretty solid, as well. They’re expertly recorded, as each cymbal tick and snare hit is clear, crisp and concise. The bass guitar seems mostly absent, save for a few random moments when it makes a brief appearance.

Not surprisingly, the vocals are way too high in the mix. It seems that the singer want to be a “sensitive and world weary” songwriter, a la Stephen Malkmus or Morrissey. The thing is, he has confused his band, as half of the time they’re playing gorgeous melodies (“Dead”), while the rest of the time they’re rockin’ out (“Trip to Action”). The music is different, yet the singer’s got his tired/jaded voice at the same cliché, “bored” monotone going full force.

I don’t know. I guess if I wanted to hear The Strokes, I’d probably try to kill myself; if I survived, I’d listen to The Strokes, not a corny carbon copy like The Pelicans. I’m so tired of these pseudo-sensitive guys being so drained by life. I just don’t understand why this lead singer has to sound bored and disinterested, especially on fantastic tracks like “Ready For The Crawl.” There’s a reason for the elasticity of vocal chords: note variation!

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