Suburban Kids With Biblical Names | #3 (Minty Fresh)

cd_suburbanAny budding garage band with a sense of humor can come up with a unique moniker, but only the ones with real talent and determination will likely see their name become secondary to their sound.

 

 

 

 

Ah, what fun band names can be. There are Web sites devoted to compiling the inventive likes of I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness and …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, and lesser-known entities such as Brady Bunch Lawnmower Massacre, Alcoholics Unanimous, and Kathleen Turner Overdrive. Any budding garage band with a sense of humor can come up with a unique moniker, but only the ones with real talent and determination will likely see their name become secondary to their sound.

Add Suburban Kids with Biblical Names to the list of those who've succeeded. This Swedish outfit not only do justice to their memorable tag, they've scored a U.S. deal ahead of many of their countrymen with equally interesting names. So obviously, there must be some substance to the music. There is, if this premiere domestic release is any indication. Johan Hedberg and Peter Gunnarsson, the architects of this zingy, energetic outfit, keep the vocals low and the spirits high throughout the 14 songs on #3. There's a youthful optimism present in most of the tunes, and the music is both herky-jerky and quirky-perky. "Loop Duplicate My Heart" compares music-making on one's home computer to the pursuit of love ("So many interesting effects/ I wanna try them all on you"), to a suitably poptronica arrangement. "Parakit" evidently pays tribute to the boys' skateboarding background, as well as name-dropping albums by Pavement and the Smiths ("Meat Is Murder"). Genuine classics include "Trees and Squirrels," which is wonderfully jaunty and features a vocal like a mega-caffeinated Jonathan Richman, and "Rent a Wreck," an economical burst of exuberance with low-pitched "bah bah bah" vocals that induce a big smile. So do peculiar lyrics like "Noodles are the smell of denial/ You will never grow up," sung on the track "Noodles" with a banjo prominent in the mix.

Most songs are built around guitars, driving synthesizer, and percussion, yet the Suburban Kids are judicious in their edits and arrangements; few songs reach the four-minute mark. They're good with atypical choruses, too—"Seems to Be on My Mind," the kind of track that pleases both critics and casual fans, offers a great one: "Love seems to be on my mind/ Seems to be all the time/ This is the way I always am/ My song, singing and swinging along." And "swinging" is the operative word here, 'cause this music moves, and keeps snapping its creative fingers.

Some may find this stuff a little too lightweight, and the lead vocals get a bit samey after a while. But as party music, or in fact, high-energy accompaniment for a weekend drive, this is fine, inventive stuff. "I want the world to move an inch from where I stand/ To put defenses down and invite the band," the boys sing in the closing "Trumpets and Violin." Consider yourself invited, guys. I'm sure you'll add a lot to the festivities here. B+ | Kevin Renick

RIYL: Madness, Hot Chip, early Jonathan Richman

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