October 30, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Corner Laughers

Can a CD be yummy? If so the new Corner Laughers release I just got is delish. The band describes their sound as "bouncy, clever, melodic pop songs". Who am I to disagree? Far from it, I can go on about them in a way that isn't shameless self-promotion.

Last year I stumbled across their first release Tomb of Leopards, and became an immediate fan. It was everything a good pop album should be -- vibrant, sunny, full of catchy hooks, hand claps, and perky melodies. Through it all is an obvious regard for pop -- a pop sensibility that appreciates the classic sounds of the sixties, eighties, and even '05. Tagged as twee, but so much more than that.

Now, Corner Laughers have just released a brand new disk, Ultraviolet Garden, produced by another of my favorite pop makers, Alan Clapp of the Orange Peels. Maybe it's just a musical maturing, or perhaps the practiced production hand of Clapp, but a sophisticated, more polished sound is obvious right away. The group's sound is less folksy, more refined. Where the first album on occasion showed a little much of the quaintness of The Decembrists and the cleverness of the New Pornographers (dlelightfully so in each case, to be sure) this album has a grace and ambience that is miles beyond what went before.

It's stocked with great songs from top to bottom. There's the guitar driven "Silver Medal" bouncing neatly between electric guitar and ukulele with nary a stutter. And the moody "Stonewords" brought to mind The Decembrists but also at the same time was somehow evocative of older new wave era bands like The Cure or even Blondie. The jaunty and catchy "Inner Archeologist" has a touch of retro-commercial to it that gives it a sort of tongue in cheek vibe and will probably make it one of their most requested. Meanwhile the soulful and girly vocal harmonies of "The Commonest Manifesto" are sure to bring about comparisons to everyone from The Shangri-Las to Duffy.

No matter what it brings to mind for you while you're listening, this is modern pop music played the way it's meant to be.

Corner Laughers -- The commonest Manifesto

The Corner Laughers -- Stonewords