There's a fairly continuous line of ska-influenced local horn bands, from early Rustic Overtones to the Bottle Rocket Kings to the Taxis to That's What She Said to, well, the Pecan Sandies (yes, that's the name of Frank's band on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who this week release their debut EP, Therapy, with a healthy dose of staccato trumpet-and-trombone and manic Travis Spear bass parts that make you feet like your Vans turned to roller skates.
The opening "Pirate Song" might be the album's weakest, with a put-on growled lead from Harry Gingrich that alternates with a cleaner take and a heavy-handed mix that makes the guitar solo rise from the ocean and then sink like a submarine. That solo's a fast classic rock that turns the song on its ear, though, and describing piracy as a job where "murder makes you an expert in your field" is solid songwriting.
Then "Safety First" is a top-five song so far this year, in among the Lady Lambs and Severe Joys and Phantom Buffalos, just a great tune about being a kid with a girlfriend, where it's us against the world, but we know it really ain't that bad: "Every little sound brings us closer/To the fear of what happens when they get near." Gingrich's vocal melody in the open is picked up and carried forward by a quick kick drum from Nick Spear before the full band enters.
Corey Gilman's sunshiney electric guitar to open the straightforward appeal of "In My Bed" is like something off The OC (I consider that a compliment; Ryan Atwood was a textured character), Ray Bans on and unsentimental: "I don't care what you're doing, I don't care who you're screwing . . . just be there in my bed tonight." Matt Brennen turns a trumpet solo like a bugle call and it all somehow smacks of Camper van Beethoven.
Brennen and Chuck Key's trombone up the vamp to Toasters chic on "The Creeps," with a Duran Duran reference in the chorus and an unsettling way of being lewd in a charming way. "Al Capone" gets further pop-referential. How do these kids know about Inspector Gadget?
This child of the '80s appreciated it, but it's a fun album even without the hijinks. These are entertaining songs delivered with a good bit of sweat, and it's hard not to get wrapped up in it.
THERAPY | Released by the Pecan Sandies | with the Pubcrawlers + Paranoid Social Club | at Geno's, in Portland | Feb 15 | thepecansandies.bandcamp.com
: Music Features
, Phantom Buffalo, therapy