Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Record review: My My My - 'Leather Silk'

The last record from Chicago's My My My, 2008’s Little Cat Plays the Alpha Rave, was strong enough to earn the band plenty of praise - including a spot on our best up-and-coming Chicago bands list for that year. Little Cat was a solid introduction, but the no-filler indie pop excellence of their new LP, Leather Silk, ups the game in a major way.

What's most refreshing about Leather Silk is that the songwriting is consistently strong and fully-realized, something bands rarely pull off in LP form these days. All 10 tracks are memorable and pop-minded, but have adventurous song structures and clever twists and turns that keep things from ever getting dull or overly repetitive. “Be My Bianca,” for instance, changes direction midway with a sudden, rocking rave-up and a shout-along chant. “Swoon” opens with a slick electro loop, builds a moody dance rock sound, and then introduces a killer chorus. “Loudest Summer” pairs upbeat, infectious music and and hooks with world-weary lyrics (“After a while the ‘whys’ get bigger than you thought, they get bigger than the ‘why nots’") for top-notch power pop.

The bulk of the songwriting was done by My My My’s initiator and driving force, Russell Baylin, who shares vocal duties with bandmate Sarah Snow. It’s hard to believe these two came together through Craigslist (Baylin assembled the band by putting out a series of ads on the site) because their voices sound too good together to have been paired so randomly. Both have passionate rock and roll pipes that bring the material to life and play a major part in the group's distinct sound. Snow’s contributions are more prominent and powerful here than they were on Little Cat, as she takes lead vocals on a few cuts. She’s particularly impressive on “White Lions,” an album highlight that finds her belting out quirky lyrics such as “In your skinny jeans, you’re a thrift store Martin Sheen” over a rollicking, new wave-inspired backdrop.

Everything works on Leather Silk. The entire band is in top form. The production is crisp and bright, bringing out all the nuances of the material. Electronic flourishes add character in all the right places, and all elements are perfectly mixed. Basically, this rocks and deserves a huge audience. My my my, indeed.

Download mp3: My My My - "Swoon"

'Leather Silk' is currently available via CD Baby and iTunes. My My My will play a release show for the record at Bottom Lounge on Saturday, May 8 (also with Green Sugar, How Far to Austin, Josh & the Empty Pockets and Cobalt & the Hired Guns). 7 p.m., $8, 17 and over. Tickets here.

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