ALBUM: Temescal Telegraph
BAND: THE CORNER LAUGHERS
reviewed by NADJA DEE
THE CORNER LAUGHERS
BIG STIR RECORDS
Musicians: Karla Kane (Vocals, Ukulele)
Charlie Crabtree (Drums)
Bowman (Guitar, Bass, Piano)
Khoi Huynh (Guitar, Bass, Piano)
Most songs by: Karla Kane
The first thing I want to say about this album is IT'S NOT POWER POP. If that deters you, then so be it. It's not and there's no way to pretend it is. This is a Power Pop site and that's what we do here on HOP ON POWER POP.
BUT, and that's a BIG BUTT!
There's still things about this album that I wanted to point out.
In the first song, Track #1 Calculating Boy, there's definitely an indie/folk quality to the song until it gets to the :35 second mark, then it jumps into this Power Pop energy, which doesn't let up when it goes back to the verses. This quality, and Karla Kane's gorgeous voice, makes it extremely catchy...kind of a like another genre of music *wink* (I love girls in glasses)
In fact, the way the lyrics repeat, the cadence, makes me think of the music from George Harrison's son, Dhani Harrison, with his music in his group thenewno2. The music of thenewno2 is a mix of Power Pop, Electronica, Rock and even R&B styled Hip-Hop to form a distinct sensibility that defies categorizing. Much the same as the music of The Corner Laughers. Compare The Corner Laughter's verse delivery in The Calculating Boy with the vocal delivery in thenewno2's song Choose What You're Watching.
Track #1 The Calculating Boy
thenewno2: Choose What You're Watching
Then when you get to Track #2 Changeling, we go right to Dhani's dad, George with the musical influences which are undeniable. Especially after Karla sings "I'm a strange thing, you're a changeling," there's a little keyboard riff that would fit nicely on George Harrison's 1976 album Thirty Three & 1/3. It's not a copy of any song, not in the least, but it gave me warm fuzzies every time I heard the influence.
Track #2 Changeling
I think the reason I felt this way is that DOWNTIME is a reserved work of art. It doesn't have the youthful angst that you'd find in seminal Power Pop albums from songwriters still going through puberty. Take the youthful energy in Shake Some Action which you could tell was written by a 19 year old (Cyril Jordan), or Paul Collins writing Rock N Roll Girl at 23. These songs have an extra spark that only comes through when you're still battling hormones and acne.
Personally, as a ukulele player and fanatic myself, I love all the ukulele heavy songs on Temescal Telegraph, especially on song #3 to #5: The Lilac Line (Also on Karla Kane's debut solo album "King's Daughters Home for Incurables"), The Accepted Time, Loma Alta and Track #7 Wren In The Rain. There's uke in other songs, but it's not the main instrument leading the song. Ukulele today has become a key player in many popular songs, it's not just a silly ditty from the days of Tin Pan Alley. If Tiny Tim would've lived to see how his little instrument had grown in popularity, his hair would curl...er maybe straighten? You get my meaning, he would stop tip-toeing and start moshing. (Someone tell those delicate tulips they better watch out!)
Track #4 The Lilac Line
Track #6 Sisters Of The Pollen picks up the pace again. It doesn't go quite into Power Pop energy, but it's catchy as hell, the kind of catchy that makes me think of another retro 60's songwriting genius like Lisa Mychols. In fact, I could see it being a song that Lisa Mychols would write back in the days when studios kept songwriters on staff to give to their celebrity roster. My favorite lyric: Sisters of the Nectar, don't reject her.
Track #6 Sisters Of The Pollen
But again, this is a Power Pop website and we're reviewing an album that won't qualify for all the Top 10 Power Pop albums by year's end. Not because it's not a top album, but because it's more along the lines of folk rock, indie and to quote Big Stir Records' description:
"But now, as at the start, they are not of this era. They are timeless, but far from “retro”: Yes, you will detect strains of English folk-psych (peak period Kinks by way of Fairport Convention, perhaps), vintage California sunshine pop and hints of alt-country twang."
This is where this album review will stop. This isn't the first release from The Corner Laughers, nor do I expect it to be their last. These folks know how to write music, good music and who couldn't use that escape right now?
And that's exactly right, it's the kind of record you want to put on when you're sitting on your porch, with a glass of iced tea, which you made in the warmth of the sun while you hear laughter coming from the corner tree swing. It sets a moment in time where you're transported in time and when you look back on the memory of those sun kissed days, you'll forget where you were, what year it and wonder if there ever was a place called Temescal Telegraph and if you went there? You should.
AS ALWAYS, PLEASE SUPPORT INDEPENDENT MUSIC!
BUY IT HERE! (June 5, 2020)
DISCLAIMER: HOP ON POWER POP doesn't give stars, a grade or any sort of quantifiable rating. What HOP ON POWER POP does is let you know what H.O.P.P. thought of the music by the band at this particular time. If an album isn't to our liking or fitting into the Power Pop genre enough, we simply won't review it.
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I have it on good authority, this is a Warm Fuzzy
Did someone say Lisa Mychols?
Stock Images Pixabay
We're not a Power Pop band,
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