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QUICK SPINS: Temples, Cheatahs, Wet Secrets

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 20, 2014 4:45PM

Cheatahs, Temples and Wet Secrets

Two British quartets and a Canadian quintet all mine different portions of the past for some new noise and take us on a trip that leaves nostalgia behind.

Sun Structures

2014_02_temples.jpg Pop Temples' Sun Structures into your reel to reel and lay back while the oil smears across the membrane you've stretched in front of that light bulb to smear the room in undulating waves of primary colors. As Sun Structures' magnetic tape winds past the heads the sounds that make their way to your quadrophonic system will easily transport you to a world where teased out curls sit upon the crowns of dandied up boys and girls spinning alongside in miniskirts whose fringe at the hemline twirls as they move along to the music. The gentle reverb that surrounds every song just allows a little extra space for guitar lines to chop in from the right while they spin off into an abstract pattern to your left. This is what it sounds to be housed in frosted sunshine. The fields of sound build up from the vibrations Temples gives off and nothing is abrasive any longer; everything is just groovy.

To be fair, none of this is incredibly exceptional and the net result is to bring you into a hazy, lazy state of relaxation tinged with a tough of the louche. This is the sound of good kids that want to mine dangerous terrain but simply never found the tools to do so outside books offering to open their doors of perception. Because of that you're never truly transported somewhere alien, new and mind-blowing, but the ride is still totally worth taking.

Temples plays at Lincoln Hall on April 26.


2014_02_cheatahs.jpg For the most part Cheatahs' musical library feels like it begins in 1993 and ends in 1995. Their record collection sounds to be mostly sourced from Caroline distribution with a few mail orders sent in to Matador and TeenBeat. Usually I try and stay away from obvious RIYL comparisons but c'mon, Cheatahs basically begs one to do that. If there was a market for '90s cover bands steeped in the indie rock that launched a prehistoric Pitchfork then Cheatahs would have that market cornered to a ridiculous degree.

So obviously I love this album.

It's fuzzy and amped up, and the vocals are buried but you can still tell they're sweet even if the singers occasionally aim for a discordant twist on a melody to keep things interesting. To listeners of a certain age this is what happens when youngsters take their uncle's record collection—-because he was always the cool one--listen to it over and over and then write songs evoking the sounds of those 7" slabs of awesome, refining them and clearing the songs of missteps and rough edges without adding an ounce of gloss. To listeners of a younger age this should probably just come across simply as slabs of awesome. Whatever your age, you win.

Wet Secrets
Free Candy

2014_02_wet_secrets.gif The psych-pop on Wet Secrets' Free Candy might seem suited for a summer sojourn, with it's starting point in a meadow and ending point at a beach leading into either spirited dancing around a roaring bonfire or under a swollen moon. I would argue it's perfect for a crisp, sunny winter day though. Preferably as the sun sits high in the sky amplified by the crystalline air between it and you.

Wet Secrets write tight songs; there isn't a stray element in the bunch. But it's an organic tightness that draws these sounds together. Studio wizardry falls before seasoned musicianship to spew out glistening chunks of joy-infused frenetic noise into orbit around the album's core. There's a bit of '60s go-go in here to provide the bounce, but the band's gravitational pull is all in the ensemble feel. Technically the band is a five-piece but in my mind's eye I see a huge stage with legions of people; not intent in drawing us in with sheer noise but instead in ensuring every needed noise is available at its appointed time. It's Motown dedication to a San Francisco acid trip. It would be ridiculously cartoonish and borderline vertiginous if it weren't so damned satisfying. Dig it.