Wednesday, August 26, 2009

review: Con Law Generationals

Con Law
Park The Van Records, 2009

Generationals: "When They Fight, They Fight"
Generationals: "Wildlife Sculpture"

No doubt that New Orleans has a rich musical tradition, unfortunately that tradition has rarely included good rock music. There are a lot of of awesome musicians in NOLA, but that rarely has translated into actual bands, rock bands that is. In fact it's kind of alarming to visit the Generationals MySpace page and have the words NEW ORLEANS rather than BROOKLYN or PORTLAND or SEATTLE scream out at you. But all that's alright, because this isn't NEW ORLEANS music really, not much bounce, nothing real jazzy, no CASH MONEY.

Ted Joyner and Grant Widner, the originators of Generationals, are formerly of the Baton Rouge -based The Eames Era. They are beneficiaries of fortuitous timing, running into Park The Van close to the same time that the once displaced label made their return to New Orleans. This is Park The Van's first New Orleans artist. And their faith is well-founded because Generationals have made a wonderful record. There is a vintage quality to
Con Law, something like 60s pop, classy grooves, soul and triumphant horn solos with the crackle of modern indie rock say-speak and some tasteful beats.

My first inclination was to liken them to Spoon (modern rock horns!), Talking Heads (soft new wave!) and Vampire Weekend (whimsical dance-pop!). I guess that's right, but I still feel like something is missing with those comparisons, namely a vintage sensibility with arrangements and melody.

Their own underdog hit "When They Fight, They Fight" sounds a lot different than some other tracks on the record, but it possesses an unshakeable soulful groove, snappy percussion, the "I love you baby" chorus...I really think The Drifters and Same Cooke would be proud. Generationals has that irresistible but infectious indifference to SERIOUS indie rock. Whatever the heck that means. So there's a freedom to clap, to dance, to shake a hip, to find a GROOVE and GET IT ON.

That hit is followed by the great "Our Time 2 Shine" which I overlooked for its breeziness after many repeats of "When They Fight, They Fight." But now I'm convinced the alternating vocals and it's descriptions of going out on the town make this song just as swell. Very swell, indeed. The perfect song for relaxing AFTER the groove has been gotten. More great horn parts, nice alternating vocals, very laid-back, enough to make any 60's R&B hit-making factory jealous.

With these two songs in particular, there is a less is more quality--each sound, instrument, each beat seems planned for maximum impact. Their timing and rhythm here is impeccable and it carries to "Wildlife Sculpture," "Bobby Beale" and "Exterior Street Day" in particular.

With a fully rounded out lineup, Generationals are planning to hit the road hard. And they have an incredible sound to sell. If anyone is still missing a soundtrack to the summer, listen to Generationals now.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, The Generationals are the best new band I've heard. They sound close to The Spinto band also on Park The Van with a little more Shinns sound. My favorite tune is Bobby Beale


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