steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Minor Leagues

"The Pestilence is Coming" CD

Datawaslost Records

Genre: indie pop

February 2007

Forty musicians committed their talents to the creation of The Pestilence is Coming, the fourth full-length from this Cincinnati outfit. The songwriting outlet for Ben Walpole, TML is an ambitious group of friends centred around a core quartet of Walpole, as well as Josh Combs, Patrick Helmes, and John Kathman. The style on this record is one of epic, immediate pop. They seem to distill a lot of influences into one very enjoyable brew, with every song bringing in something new. Whether it's the New Pornographers style vocal harmonies on "Expatriates" or the synth-pop trends of "Different Planet", there's a lot going on here.

Having a lot of instruments and ideas on tap means you can do a lot with your music, but it can also end up coming out a bit cluttered. As a result, The Pestilence is something that can take a bit of acclimation to; upon first listen, I was a tad turned off by the density of these fifteen songs. It wasn't until the second play that the songs started to gel melodically in my mind. "Scene It All Before" and "Expatriates" are two of the most enjoyable songs on this record, as their fresh melodies sweetly confirm. I do find that the band's sound can wear on me a bit, though - not unusual for such a grand undertaking. A few of the songs tend to get on my nerves over multiple listens, such as "Different Planet" and "Social Club." Their melodies tend to drag, lacking the instant melody and dynastic nature of tunes like "The World Is Mine" (and its lovely bossa nova) and the ecstatic, Gay Parade-era Of Montreal-esque title track.

For full-fledged indie pop maniacs, this is a no-brainer. While it isn't the type of disc that stands up to being played on repeat all day, it is still a very enjoyable romp on occasion.

mp3s (from scene it all before, the pestilence is coming


Fun Fact: The Hamilton Bulldogs are the Montreal Canadiens' minor league team, and they rule.

youuuuutube!: "social club" live

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 15 tracks, 50:17, distributed by the label, released Jun 27, 2006]