– American Whip
By Zane Ewton
The New York bred band Joy Zipper is one
that found a record label and critical acclaim by crossing the ocean for
England. American Whip is the bands second release, has received
a whole lot of love from the British press and is finally getting a release
in the states.
Praise for this album was slathered on
thickly. A few of the quotable mentions, plastered on the album cover
sticker, include “the kind of record Brian Wilson might once have aspired
to make”, which was written in the London Evening Standard. Timeout
magazine wrote, “Imagine if the Breeders mated with Air. You probably
need this record more than you know.”
What is amazing is that nobody has questioned
how a band from Long Island can record an album in the U.K. that sounds
like a space-age California. The songs are so glossy that it becomes
easy to overlook the grit of the lyrics and the pain behind all the sunshine.
The band is, to be more specific, a duo
that allows a few hangers-on to record with them. Vinny Cafiso and
Tabitha Tindale write the songs and also share a non-business relationship
that has brought them the label of the new indie rock couple.
Of course this is all very useless information
that has nothing to do with what is most important, the music. Do
these 12 songs warrant the lavish praise that has been heaped up on them?
Is Joy Zipper the next Beach Boys?
The answer is, probably not. But
the album is quite good anyway. American Whip is an album
of songs that sound very musical, they live in a place where instruments
couldn’t make the right noises but the feeling is too warm to be electronic.
It is as if a singer-songwriter put down his guitar and picked up a synthesizer.
Cafiso and Tindale take turns with lead
vocals. Tindale’s voice is memorable but Cafiso sings the interesting
songs. The moments where they share the vocals feel awkward.
The lyrics are sad, emotionally not grammatically. While there are
a few songs that stand out, the rest are so pretty and smooth that they
fade into the background of your mind. Like music to go grocery shopping
to. But increased listens present the heart of this album.
Therein lies the greatness in this album,
it is much more than it appears to be. The songs that are immediately
likeable are “Baby You Should Know”, “Out of the Sun”, the short but fascinating
“Drugs”, and “Valley Stream”. The rest of the album tends to blend
together. An instant classic should be fantastic from top to bottom.
American Whip fails to meet that requirement but it is still a very
fascinating listen for anybody interested in the softer, melodic side of
indie pop music. Just because it is pretty doesn’t mean there is
– American Whip
February 22, 2005
Baby You Should Know
Out Of The Sun
Dosed And Became Invisible
In The Never Ending Search For A Suitable
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