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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Poor Rich Ones
Happy Happy Happy
Five One Inc.

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
If you really think about it, Meijer is the Radiohead of all-purpose discount superstores. Or, Radiohead is the Meijer of rock. Either way, both share some distinct similarities. For one, Radiohead has the distinct characteristic of being able to blur many different styles of music into a hodgepodge of sounds, and thus create something completely their own. Likewise, Meijer incorporates many different necessities (food, clothing, pet gerbils, and chainsaws being a few of the many), under one roof. Additionally, Radiohead seem to be the one band everyone turns to when rock needs a little saving. Meijer, in turn, provides people with the constant knowledge that no matter where you are or what time it is, if you need something (like, say, new underwear, because you pee'd your pants) the store will be open, thus becoming a proverbial safety net.

Frequent Meijer shoppers will note, however, that one of the supposed benefits of patronizing the store would be the ever-popular Meijer brand items. These brands are cheap substitutes for pretty much every type of product your grubby bargain buying hands can hold. Although enticing due to their price, it becomes more than apparent after a few bowls of Meijer brand macaroni and cheese, that the shit ain't Velveeta.

And like these Meijer brands, Radiohead has come to house many generic bands under their musical umbrella, some of which just do not stand up to the original. It is plainly clear that bands such as Muse, Doves, Coldplay (AKA - the worst band ever), and even Travis (although they are the best of the bunch) are all lining up to be the "next" Radiohead.

It seems, though, a diamond has been found in the ruff. Out of literally nowhere (well, Norway anyhow), comes Poor Rich Ones, who despite the hideously bad name and album title, seem to meld to perfection the dramatics and dynamics of Bends-era Radiohead, with the studio trickery of mastermind Mark Trombino, and add some beautiful twists along the way.

The influence that Trombino has on the sound of Happy Happy Happy is completely perfect, one that might even make one Nigel Godrich a bit jealous. The synth textures that run throughout the album bring to mind what Jimmy Eat World was attempting to capture on Clarity, but with much more staggering results. Where Jimmy Eat World tended to rely on Trombino to improve some less than stellar tracks, Poor Rich Ones take advantage of these techniques to lightly accent some already terrific songs.

This is not to say, however, that the electronics are the only thing worth concentrating on when becoming familiar with Happy Happy Happy. The vocals of the singular named William soar into Bono territory (is there a connection?) quite frequently, and the guitars shimmer and shine like the best moments on any Slowdive record, especially on the upbeat and beautiful "High Flyer" (with the simple, yet effect chorus of "What am I doing here?"). Add to that a rhythm section as tightly knit as a warm sweater, and you've got a gem on your hands. Everything is tied together by a simple, yet emotional drive, that sometimes leads the songs to be aggressive, but they never loose their grip on melody and honesty.

As evident on such glorious tracks as "For Eliza," and "Special Angel," Poor Rich Ones write the kind of dramatic pop songs that could make the likes of Catherine Wheel bow down and take note. Expect good things from the Norwegian souls in the future. It seems as if the Radiohead superstore has just acquired a new product to tote as "almost as good as the original."

Reviewed by Ryan Allen
A former staff writer with fabulous hair, Ryan Allen once fronted Red Shirt Brigade with his brother, Scott. He currently fronts the art/fashion punk band Thunderbirds Are Now!, with is brother, Scott.

See other reviews by Ryan Allen

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