Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Resonars -- That Evil Drone

The Resonars -- That Evil Drone (Burger)

Matt Rendon has a voice that sounds a fair amount like Allan Clarke of The Hollies. He also is a capable one man (in the studio) band, layering on harmony vocals that sound swell. So The Hollies loom large when listening to The Resonars.

But Rendon does not write pure British Invasion style pop songs. There are no “Bus Stop”’s here. Rendon’s songs cover somewhat different ‘60s turf. He is a master composer of psych-pop and rock. His songs are consistently melodic, but they also really rock.

Without going back to past Resonars releases (primarily due to the stack of other things I need to review), the latest plate seems just a bit tougher and forceful. I don’t mean that this is raving Blue Cheer acid metal. It’s just a bit more pointed. Of course, it could mean it's been a wild that I've listened to The Resonars, other than when a track comes up on shuffle on my iPod.

Beyond that distinction, this album is blessed with hooks galore. What I find interesting is that Rendon isn’t so much about the indelible chorus as he is about striking instrumental passages. The catchiest aspects of these songs are usually little guitar figures or riffs that lock a song into the brain for good.

The best example of this is the amazing “Here’s the Frenzy”. Rendon seemingly deconstructed a few different songs to come up with this five layer cake of retro psych bliss. Where to begin? How about the beginning?

The song fades in with jangly lead guitar, before slamming into power chords, leading to rock that sounds like a freakbeat train in danger of running off the rails. Rendon adds some twanging Dick Dale/Link Wray guitarage underneath, creating a mix of rumble and lovely Townshend-like licks. Throw in some crisp drumming with crashing cymbals and this is a song that keeps soaring and riffing, with the pretty parts providing a welcome release.

If you want something in more of a Merseybeat vein, head back to Track 2, the breezy “No Black Clouds Float By”. This might have the strongest chorus on the record, as this is pure pop pleasure, augmented by some stinging lead guitar lines.

This is followed by the dramatic, sweeping “One Part Moan”. Here, the lead guitar gets things going right away, but the verses are carried by the urgency of Rendon’s work on the bass guitar, all to set up more lead guitar wonder. Throw in the terrific vocals and a grabbing melody and this song is pure excitement.

Indeed, The Resonars specialize in these keyed up numbers, with “World Apart” and “Black Breath” providing similar thrills. But Rendon adds a vaguely countryish number in “Sister Sally” (sounding like The Hollies meet A Quick One era Who), a pretty acoustic ballad (“Yes Grosvenor”) and really nifty mid-tempo instrumental (“Run Kodiak Run”).

Yep, this is another winner from The Resonars. The band may take its cues from the past, but the music sounds as fresh as can be.

No comments: