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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
Winter Gloves
About a Girl
Paper Bag

Rating: 8/10 ?


September 22, 2008
Many bands have bucked the trend of rock music's basic structure, forgoing the standard guitar, bass, and drums in favor of other combinations. The 2-man rock band, composed of a guitar player and a drummer, a sort of basic survival kit for the format, streamlines rock and roll to its most basic elements. Bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys have a raw sound that can be described as simply riffs and beats. A working formula is achieved by subtracting band members as a way to reach a more visceral sound. This approach is more fruitful than the one taken by The Presidents of the United States of America, a band that subtracted the number of strings on their instruments as an avenue toward minimalism but arrived at something more akin to limitism than minimalism. Though they have twice as many members as the duo format, Quebec's Winter Gloves take a decidedly subdued approach to their songs.

The Montreal quartet of Winter Gloves creates beautiful indie pop, sans bass player. Instead they add the presence of a Wurlitzer organ. The ten songs of the group's first proper album, About a Girl, sound lighter than air, drifting along untethered by heavy bass notes.

The opening track, "Factories," lays soft rock melodies over post-punk foundations, a theme that runs throughout the record and creates a sound comparable to the soft-focus Hollywood close-up. Songs on About a Girl are all soft lines and dreamy tones; they take the sharp, pointy blades of post-punk and dull them to harmless tips.

"Let Me Drive," a track that would sound equally at home in a club or on a car stereo, refutes the Washington Post claims that there are no more pop songs written about cars. When the chorus slows down and the band lets up on the accelerator, the intent seems solely for the purpose of speeding up again once the verse comes back in. Even while listening to it when not behind the wheel, the song has the feel of being in traffic.

Elsewhere on the album, songs like "Hillside" and "About a Girl" sound cute, but not quite twee, as Winter Gloves enter Grandaddy territory of gentle and diffused indie rock. On "I Can't Tell You" and "Party People," the band reaches for Coldplay's shallow, sonic depth, but instead grasp something more. They follow through on an idea to completion, willing to risk the chance of something new not working out as well as something they've done before.

Although songs on About a Girl sound like they stop rather than end, it is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and a solid debut that grows better with each listen. Winter Gloves play to their strengths, creating catchy, dreamy indie pop. They are much stronger writing upbeat songs rather than ballads. The album does include a couple weak moments, but ultimately, the band is at it's best when they combine the two, like on the album closer, "Pianos 4 Hands."

Reviewed by Joseph Coombe
A contributing writer who lives and works in Los Angeles, Joseph Coombe is searching for Jon Landauís future of rock and roll by rereading Lester Bangs and unreading Greil Marcus.

See other reviews by Joseph Coombe

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