Monday, February 25, 2008
Sure, it's been said before (many, many times), but between the male-female vocals and the folky, gorgeous arrangements, it's pretty hard not to think of The 1900s as Chicago's answer to Belle and Sebastian. I was going to attempt writing about the local seven-member act without mentioning that band, but I really think it's nearly impossible. That's not to take anything away from The 1900s, as their debut LP Cold & Kind clearly establishes them as vital and irresistible in their own right.
The brief, piano-driven No Delay starts Cold & Kind off nicely, introducing the record's mellow vibe and lead vocalist Edward Anderson's pure, straightforward delivery. Georgia, with its refrain, "Jump for joy, Georgia" and chiming keys, is unquestionably joyous. When I Say Go is arguably the best track. Many of the numbers on Cold & Kind require a few listens to fully reveal themselves, but this tune oozes with instant melodic charm.
Elsewhere, the title track, Acutiplantar Dude and Two Ways bring to mind classic, Zombies-style guitar pop. Wool of the Lamb - especially its very effective final minute or so - is a fitting closer.
The entire album flows seamlessly. The fact that its hooks can be subtle means it's not the kind of record you wear out too quickly and tire of easily - it's made for repeated listens, each one more satisfying than the last.
Check out some 1900s tunes for yourself on the band's MySpace page and pick up a copy of Cold & Kind here.
THE 1900s LINEUP:
- Edward Anderson - lead vocals, guitar
- Caroline Donovan - vocals, keys
- Jeanine O'Toole - vocals, tambourine
- Mike Jasinski - guitar, keys, vocals
- Tim Minnick - drums
- Charlie Ransford - bass
- Andra Kulans - strings