The Minor Leagues
"The Pestilence is Coming" CD
Genre: indie pop
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
mp3s (from datawaslost.net):
scene it all before,
the pestilence is coming
Fun Fact: The Hamilton
Bulldogs are the Montreal Canadiens' minor league team, and they rule.
"social club" live
[Vitals: 15 tracks,
released Jun 27, 2006]