get it

The Lashes’ debut EP, ‘The Stupid Stupid’, was issued on the almost legendary Lookout! Records label, once home to many top-notch punk bands. By The time of their full length release ‘Get It’, two years later, the band had been snapped up by Sony, obviously spotting potential in the Seattle sextet’s fusion of power pop, hard rock and emo.

Opening this album, the intro keyboard wash of ‘New Best Friend’ reinforces the power pop elements of The Lashes’ sound. Nearly all of the band’s traits are here in this opening track: punchy guitars, solid rhythms and keyboard filler (and do I hear handclaps?); and from that perspective ‘Get It’ is an album with very few surprises. ‘A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody’ takes The Lashes’ love of classic new wave-ish rock/pop further, without compromising any of the guitar punch…and in just over three minutes – and via a big debt to Weezer – they have you reeled in. If you’re a sucker for guitar driven melodies coupled with decent hook, then you’ll probably love this.

The spiky ‘Safe To Say’ carries elements which call to mind the 00’s garage revival of bands like The Strokes, but more tuneful. While one of the weaker numbers from ‘Get It’, it showcases the bands slightly more aggressive side and also highlights how it doesn’t always work when they try something outside their comfort zone. This is counterbalanced some way by ‘Dear Hollywood’, a rumpty-tumpty piece of rock/pop with a greater focus on the piano than most of The Lashes’ other material. Again, this only strengthens any claim that power pop is at the heart of The Lashes’ craft, as opposed to anything punkier…

‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ has the makings of a classic. Via its great hooks and decent tune, I’m reminded a great deal of the criminally ignored mid-90s glam-pop band Beat Angels, thanks to slight Cheap Trick-isms and handclaps. In terms of stuck-in-your-head-goodness, ‘The World Needs More Love Letters’ is an equal match with its pop-driven chorus and Greg Hawkes inspired keyboards. ‘Dear Hollywood’, the album’s lightest offering, is piano-driven pop with hints of Ben Folds and Jason Falkner at their most bouncy. Also worthy of a mention is ‘Sometimes The Sun’, which is poppier than a lot of the material here, slightly jaunty, but not too obviously quirky. It’s another track which shows The Lashes playing to their strengths. Musically, it hangs off a simple guitar twang which doesn’t really carry a tune in itself; the melodies are crafted via a particularly overstretched vocal approach, which eventually arrives at a simple but pleasing hook.

Given The Lashes’ influences and knack for a decent chorus, on the surface ‘Get It’ should be an enjoyable ride, due to its disposable qualities. Sadly, there’s a weak link throughout – and that weak link is Ben Clark’s vocal. It sounds like a strong voice, but he’s chosen to sing with an irritating emo like affectation. It’s trashy enough to suit most of the songs on offer; however, when pushed to the levels a lot of these songs require, it can become an annoyance. …And for me, that’s enough to stop ‘Get It’ ever obtaining that cult classic status it could’ve been capable of achieving.

January 2010/July 2010