Monday, April 28, 2008

The Lackloves -- Cathedral Square Park (2008)

The Lackloves -- Cathedral Square Park (Rainbow Quartz):

Mike Jarvis is back with a lean, but not mean, trio. The fourth Lackloves album is more of the same, which sometimes is a drawback, but not in this case. Jarvis has staked out such a unique piece of turf in the ‘60s-inspired pop spectrum, that every album is sure to have some swoony throwback gems.

What makes The Lackloves’ music so distinctive is that it melds the musical structures of classic 1964-era rock and roll with a jangly lightness that skirts psychedelia, with some forays into old -fashioned ‘50s rock. Back in the ‘60s, so many bands went from poppy to hippy in one fell swoop, whereas most Lackloves songs plant one foot squarely on each side of the divide. Much like Shoes, The Lackloves meld old archetypes resulting in a new one.

If anything, these guys are better than ever as creating a glistening wall of sound. On "Hallmark Stars (Take A Seat)", Jarvis’s search for meaning in life seems to solved. Just listen to the delectable chord changes in the silky chorus, the beds of strumming guitars, and the jangle perfect bridge, with superb harmony vocals and Jarvis straining his voice to the near breaking point.

The band’s ability to find the greatest songs Buddy Holly never wrote is still intact. Kevin Ponec takes the lead on the splendid "Marlena", and he sounds like Phil Seymour (of the Dwight Twilley Band) while Tommy Doughterty. provides just the right shuffle beat. Right before that, Dougherty is laying down a Bo Diddley beat on the perky "Dance With Me".

Jarvis has shown an increasing talent for last dance at the prom style ballads, and he saves a great one for last. "End of the World" is simply classic songwriting. The lyrics are spare and direct, the song’s basic melody is pretty and sweet, but the song leaps into a whole another dimension as the melody ascends and all of the passion and desperation comes to a head. I’d say that they don’t write ‘em like that anymore, but thanks to Jarvis (and kindred spirits like Nick Lowe and Richard Hawley) there are a last few folks who still do.

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