steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Normans

"Dreams of Autocrashes" CD

India Records

Genres: indie pop, folk-pop, indie rock

band website

Oct 25 - 31 2004

I can't tell if The Normans constitute a normal indie rock act or not.  Their songs are melodically straightforward and stylistically typical, but for some reason this album feels extremely unique.  The songs are of varied lengths (though only one surpasses the four minute mark), and seem to range from slow and folky to gritty and rock-oriented.  The songwriting is solid, and all of these tunes can be hummed.  Lovers of good pop music will surely appreciate what Normans lead man Brent Baldwin has created here.

"Writing" is The Normans' first notable song on Dreams of Autocrashes - it has an unusual structure, spending most of its duration on a simple verse and then finishing off with a infectiously howling ooh-ooh-ooh chorus.  "Air," though barely over a minute long, is also one of this album's best tracks - it has an uplifting structure that is both blissful and momentous.  The emotionally charged "Tried to Try" and "Hope" are also strong.  The varied selection of successful songs is indicative of what a diverse and eclectic album Dreams of Autocrashes is - it's like a pop smorgasbord of sorts.  A few tracks aren't as catchy as the best ("Heavens to Betsy," "Lullabye"), but for the most part they are worth having in a collection.

Sixteen tracks is a lot for an indie pop album, but Brent Baldwin makes the most of this disc's duration.  As a result, Dreams of Autocrashes is a particularly successful release.  Keep an eye on The Normans - they're worth your attention.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 16 tracks, distributed by CD Baby, released 2003]