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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
The Sharp Ease
Going Modern
Olfactory Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


October 1, 2004
When you release a CD, you have to one of two paths: I'm not talking about number of tracks or thinking of a title, but rather, the overall mood of the album. Will it be catchy and loveable after the first listen, or will it be puzzling at first, requiring the listener to unpack it more and more with each spin? Each path has its advantages, but cursed be those who try to mix these tones - you end up with a sludgy mess that is neither memorable nor interesting.

The Sharp Ease knew about this rule (amazingly, considering I just made it up) and chose the path of catchiness. Going Modern is completely infectious from song to song. As an all-grrrl band, The Sharpe Ease have more in common with Sleater-Kinney than The Donnas, even though "Advantage" starts the CD with a shout-along you might expect from Spend The Night. On "Life Preservers," singer Paloma Parfrey warbles about, well, life preservers and somehow makes "S.O.S" sound sexy. Meanwhile, all the bah-bah's and staccato alto sax parts make it hard to ignore the influence of Deerhoof.

The middle of the disc rocks more steadily as the Sharp Ease do their best impression of Sleater-Kinney, though Parfrey can jump a bit higher than Corin Tucker, into registers barely audible to the human ear. "Patio Chair" is the best song on the album due to its L.A. swagger and, oddly enough, to its handclaps which will have you twitching your head like the SNL Roxbury guys. Even Parfrey's lyrics are too cool; the way she sings "Didn't bother me-heee-eeee" will stick in your head for weeks to come, and will inspire you not to sweat the small stuff.

Each song on Going Modern is catchy in its own way, and doesn't become annoying, except for the single punk moment, "Joan." We hear about "Joan! Joan! Joan!" over and over, before the longest minute and thirteen seconds on the album comes to an end. Thankfully, this is the only song that is too catchy and planned for its own good.

Those of us who think we have good taste in music occasionally shun music that is likeable right away, using bitter words like "pedestrian" or "predictable." Despite this lip-service, we all love a good toe-tapper once in a while; Franz Ferdinand's album made this website's top 10 list amongst head-scratchers from Xiu Xiu and Animal Collective. With Going Modern, the Sharp Ease have proved they can write hit songs, one after another - the true test will be whether or not they can keep their momentum rolling for their sophomore release.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown

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