Monday, May 20, 2013

Record review: Terriers - 'Unrequited Admiration Society'

By Gene Wagendorf III  

"New York," the first single off Terriers' debut record Unrequited Admiration Society, is the kind of polished, infectious indie-pop tune that ought to get the band a healthy dose of attention, and in the heyday of radio, a lot of airplay. Its lyrics- strong enough to stand alone as spoken word- are elegantly delivered by singer Danny Cohen, whose croon rides lush guitar-work and steadfast drumming. The track alone would make UAS worth checking out, but the record has much more to offer.

Terriers' mix of influences serves them well. They balance contemplative moments that recall vintage Radiohead against Of Montreal-esque neo-funk. Stripped down ballads sit alongside playful, Elvis Costello-tinged romps. Unlike so many bands who make a mess by rushing every musical idea they've ever had into a debut album, Terriers find a sophisticated harmony on UAS, chiseling out a delightful identity all their own.  Opening the record is the somber "I Don't Care If The Sun Is Shining." Despite being a bit of a strange start off point, the song features a gorgeous melody that builds to a solemn crescendo. When "New York" follows up with its carefree jangle there's a sort of relief that UAS isn't going to be a downer, though there may be be a little more sadness down the road.

"Fall In Love" shimmies like a long-lost Bacharach B-side delivered with Rufus Wainwright flair. The volcanic guitar solo that erupts about three minutes in is a shock, but as it winds back into the groove there's hardly an surprise that Terriers pulled it off. The band is firing on all cylinders during "You Belong To Me," a very Sondre Lerche tune full of swagger. Cohen and Nora Leahy double-dutch their vocals through dance-rock spasms while drummer Connor Boyle provides an irresistible beat. The song ends with a jazzy jam that's completely satisfying, though few complaints would be lodged if it just kept rolling ad infinitum.

When Leahy takes the lead on country-tinted ballad "Like I Always Do," Terriers offer the first indication they they may have left something on the cutting-room floor. The song sparkles with down-home minimalism; the group smartly holding back and letting Leahy's voice shine. That voice is bright and sorrowful, the kind of classic delivery that'll have listeners falling in love in their headphones. Were Cohen not such an excellent vocalist himself there might be a case to be made that Terriers had finally made a mistake. Not so. The two, like the rest of the group, work incredibly well together. In a perfect example of less is more, "Like I Always Do" simply leaves the listener looking forward to additional music from Terriers.

Terriers' 'Unrequited Admiration Society' is set for release May 22nd on Aerial Ballet Records. You can stream it and snag a copy here. You can catch Terriers live at their record release show on Wednesday, May 22nd at Schubas ($7, 8pm, 18+). Get tickets here, and then watch the video for "New York" below.

1 comment:

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