Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Locals create tight pop-rock with a dynamic female vocalist

May 24, 2010

Discussing the Locals as a unit is difficult. They fall neatly into two parts: the band and the vocals. This distinction is particularly difficult, as it divorces vocalist Yvonne Doll from her arms (she’s the guitarist too). But it’s a necessary distinction when discussing Salt, their four-song EP.

The Locals are a pop-rock band, and an incredibly tight one at that. When the musicians kick into a groove, it sticks together and rocks hard. There’s not a moment where the band feels out of sync on the entire EP. It feels like the songs were born as a unit instead of from individual parts. This has to do with the engineer of the EP as much as it does the band; but even the best production can’t make something sound this well-performed. From the charging beat of “Sound It Out” to the bass-heavy “Away From Here,” the band locks it in on everything they try.

Yvonne Doll’s vocals sit on top of these songs. I say sit on top of very precisely; it seems that she is somewhat divorced from the band. I don’t know if it’s how it’s mixed or what, but there’s a definite distinction between the band and Doll in the songs. That’s a sad thing, because both are equally excellent. Doll’s voice has a good range, attitude without snarling and a smooth tone. It’s very inviting in its quieter moments and fist-pumping in the epic moments. I wish that she could have been mixed a little bit more into the songs, as I think that might help the odd division.

But these tunes don’t suffer too much from that problem. They are attention-grabbers, as Doll’s voice and melodies don’t let go. The contributions of the band (especially on “Everything Must Go”) add distinction and charm to the already great songs. The four tunes on Salt show a band that has a lot of promise ahead of them. A band this tight with a singer that talented should have lots of play in the future. I look forward to their future songs, because there should be many more of them. Recommended for fans of female-fronted guitar pop or the Goo Goo Dolls.

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

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