Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

It's a King Thing's excellent indie tunes resonate with heartfelt nostalgia

May 25, 2010

Weezer’s Blue Album came out on May 10, 1994. On May 10, 1994, the Twin Towers were still standing, the Internet was in its infancy, the most common meaning of the word “pitchfork” was “garden tool,” and Bill Clinton was president. That was sixteen years ago. Kids who are old enough to be relating to the Blue Album were just barely born when it came out. It’s almost oldies to them. This is somewhat terrifying. Hopefully it will always remain a youthful diatribe, rediscovered by each new generation.

And if it isn’t, well, It’s a King Thing is on the case with their ridiculously titled Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. I shouldn’t be surprised; IAKT contains ex-members of the also ridiculously titled Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start. As I once referred to them as Up Up Down Down, I will refer to the album in question as Buffalo.

Even though the title of Buffalo is incredibly wordy, the particular and extensive title is part of the appeal that continues from the Up Up Down Down days and made me put a lengthy Weezer intro at the front of this review. It’s a King Thing has essentially remade the Blue Album for the indie-rock generation. And that, my friends, is as high praise as this reviewer can dole out.

The Blue Album was obsessed with three things: geeky high school life, monster riffs and snarky lyrics. If you replace monster riffs with mid-fi indie-rock sensibilities, you’ve described Buffalo to a T. There are tons of acoustic guitars, boatloads of dreamy production values, wistful melodies, and an overriding sense of awe that envelops the proceedings. These songs are so tightly crafted that not a one breaks four minutes, with only two breaking 3:30. But the twelve songs in thirty minutes thing sounds great, and it’s been done before; if “Only in Dreams” hadn’t been eight minutes long, The Blue Album would have been right over a half hour too.

These songs don’t just capture an essence of youth, indie production and wistful laziness. These tunes rule. The riff in “Baby Tantrum” chugs along in an entirely appealing way while proclaiming that the narrator isn’t acting like a baby; “Kira” makes me think of the first girlfriend I ever had while treating me to a banjo pluck and a sighing melody.  “Wine and Ponies” has a perky horn section to help it along, while the melodies and harmonies of “Triple Jump” are incredibly poignant and memorable. “Hangin Out” talks about hanging out in the middle of the night with more harmonies. “Old Hobbies” addresses relational dysfunction in an entirely humorous and realistic way.

I don’t often say this in reviews, because there’s often not an empirical reason to do so, but I love this album. The pitch-perfect nostalgia,  incredibly well-written songs and perfect production job have produced an absolutely stunning album. It transported me back to a place in my life that IAKT has never been; that’s the mark of superior songwriting. But on some level, we’ve all been in the place that IAKT is writing about; I mean, that’s why we still listen to the Blue Album. And that’s why you should be listening to (deep breath) Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Download the whole thing for free here.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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