Age Rings | Black Honey

Self-released (2011)
By JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  May 26, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

AR main

With the MP3 emerging as the king format these days, anything longer than a 40-minute CD is just too long. Consequently, Boston-based Age Rings' new 80-minute double CD of original music (their sophomore release) can be considered everything from ballsy and impressive to over-indulgent and arrogant — which are also the very virtues expressed in the music. Despite its length (additionally tested by the presence of the same singer, Ted Billings, on every track), Black Honey has enough gems to engage you throughout. Disc one stands out on its own, with killer productions like the lemony mellotron/Britpop meringue "Birthday Song," in which songwriter Billings overlaps swatches of his sparkly vocal melodies with a hip-shaking groove. Not to be contained, the dark-pop shuffle of "A Crack in the Porcelain" goes after a different vibe. Having paid so much attention to getting their tight, layered studio sound into their slightly bored and sordid tales of late-night partying in Boston (as in "Ups and Downs" and "Birthday Song"), Age Rings (who also include former Phoenix staffer Will Spitz) come across as a little shallow. If you're going to be shallow, you have to be convincing — and Age Rings' melodies and hooks convince in a big way.

AGE RINGS + TAXPAYER + PRETTY & NICE + YOU CAN BE A WESLEY | Middle East upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | May 21 @ 9 pm | 18+ | $10 | 617.864.3278

  Topics: CD Reviews , Boston, Music, Pop,  More more >
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