Ian from Ian records brought this to my attention a few weeks ago and the faded monochromatic faux silkscreen sleeve on top of the speaker caught my attention last night, so I threw it on with some coffee this morning. Believe it or not it's actually related to yesterday's greaser homage sleeve so it worked out.
This single from Philly's Party Photographers is actually a 4 song EP from the foursome. I'm pretty sure I was playing it at 33... it's a long one and looks to be the first release from the self titled label.
There's a slight '60s feel to this, and it's more than just that girl group sound, minus the peppy harmony of course. There's a sort of psyche feel buried in the sea of noise, that kind of JAMC(sea), full of space, really deliberately planned and then stepping back, giving up a little control to see where the haze is going. It's a huge overwhelming layered sound, the snare even is doubled with another track of overblown hiss with every hit, and I'm thinking I like the use of the lo-fi here...just a hint on the snare, to echo that gravely kind of loose hit. Otherwise it's pretty clean, there isn't the obligatory overblown mic...it's making full use of every last track, building on top of itself.
Elizabeth's vocals are faithfully capturing the buried echo of the woooo's and la la's of the Spector sound along with the grittiness of the better girl garage groups. You want and you get a little 'Leader of the pack' in the mix. The kick hits on the downbeat with tambourine? It's classic.
All the eras are represented in the Party Photographers. All the way back to the Shangri La's and the Ronettes, right up through the Lush's or Mazzy Star's and straight to the Dum Dum Girls contemporary reinterpretation of this wall of sound. They're the next step in this lineage.
Mostly the tracks are solidly melodic except for 'DAFHB', the first track on the B-Side which starts to sound chant-y, and I'm immediately thinking about the possibility of them exploring that primitive These are Powers or Liars sound. Instead of directly descending from the '60's girl group sound they might better be a mutation that survived somehow on things no one else was touching. It's a little more sinister, blatantly unhappy? Instead of wishing on the future, they're disappointed with the reality?
I might be looking for more of that dark sound after the disappointing Best Coast release...of the two tracks I got to, 'Boyfriend', and 'Crazy for you'? Over and over the cheesy sentiment of 'I wish he was my boyfriend'? Maybe it was intended more tongue in cheek? But I think I was hearing it as a kind of sincere update on that girl group sound. It's just outdated and stalkery...is that supposed to be the twist? The jury's not out yet...I'll be giving it a chance for months still.
I think the Party Photographers have more of an edge than just an update...they use that time and place as a jumping off point and then get punk...or minimal like Meghan Remy...
There's a great piece about these guys at the Girl About Town site, it made me like them even more...I hope they get in on some good shows in NYC...from the looks of their fliers they've opened up for all the right people in Philly.
This single from Ian is a great freaking start.