Just got this single in from old faithful, Trouble in Mind Records, ever pressing away in Chicago and this one from The Wrong Words seems to be following up on that Resonars single with more glammy, sweet, infinite layered garage pop. This time the trio from San Francisco feels slightly looser than the impressively balanced Resonars, but after that same devotion to the vocal harmony, which is the best part of these records at the end of the day. You can't nail a catchy pop song like this without the study of great vocalists before you and The Wrong Words combine psych and bubblegum garage to unreachable heights with Josh Miller's vocals.
The A-Side "I Will Change Your Mind" leads this off with a complex bouncy electric rhythm with Josh belting out his sunny pop verses barley straining at these almost falsetto vocals, he's just on the edge of his range. He manages to run through a hidden scale on any given lyric, creating entire melodies out of a single word. The acoustic running throughout over this bass line also taking liberties with any straight line, but not overly rehearsed or trying to nail some impossible phrase. It's an absurdly sunny take on a late '90s rock, something like The Posies or the equally glam pop sounds of something like Jeff Novak or Gentlemen Jesse. They are devout purveyors of the harmony, it rules this track, and Josh's vocal control makes it impossible to sing along to unfortunately, not that that's going to stop you, but remember this guy is a professional. A gritty, loud solo breaks up this otherwise almost TOO perfect of a sound, kind of like that last "....your mind!!" which deliberately breaks that interlocked harmony for just a second long enough to remind you we're supposed to be having fun right?
"How to Keep a Straight Face" on the B-Side reminded me that these guys are from the very birthplace of psych, and draw on those far out sounds to pound away a real crazy trip, complete with a heavy wah guitar. Kind of like those well crafted places the Lilys went. Honestly the only reason I really went back to the Beatles catalog....(it's a long story) is because of Kurt Heasley and Elliott Smith who made it seem alright to be mining that stuff again, and paying real attention to the nuts and bolts of songwriting. I don't want to learn either...but honestly how long can you go on deliberately ignoring the actual craft? Not that it's overly apparent here, there's a natural delivery here that isn't trying so hard to overcomplicate things. Tim Cohen is further down this psych-hole than The Wrong Words but the laser focus on the songwriting and vocals (in a far different register) are here. It's tripping right out that era at times, like polished Apples in Stereo. If it didn't have this easygoing vibe it would be suspect somehow. What am I, some kind of Narc?
Pick this one up on dark purply marble vinyl with download card from Trouble in Mind Records. Click this link for a sample of the A-Side....and wouldn't you know it, this single will have to tide you over because the LP is SOLD OUT.
One of our absolute favorite bands is back with a killer new single! This two-songer is the perfect follow-up to their TiM debut LP from last March. All the elements are here that made their full-length so great; the guitar work, thumping bass and drums, great lyrics, and the same one-two, eff-you pop-punch.
"I Will Change Your Mind" has singer/guitarist Josh Miller hitting some new highs not only in guitar riff-ery but hitting those vocal high notes like he is some kind of power-pop Rob Halford - it’s a real roller coaster of a tune, that takes the listener on a journey through the melodic vocabulary of folks like Roy Wood, Nick Lowe & Paul Collins without losing their own personal voice. The flip, "How To Keep A Straight Face" kicks open the door & stomps in with a killer riff & some down and dirty wah-wah action, before smartly swaying into a great laid back northern California-cool melodic feel not-unlike Boz Scaggs jamming with the Barracudas. A terrific teaser for what’s on the horizon from this trio!
Not from this single, but here's an idea: