If you wondered what Satin Gum was up to last year with that odd little EP and MySpace onslaught, it was all just a plot, a setup! It was getting its hooks in -- its weirder hooks, in fact -- before the full-length album.
It also seems Satin Gum was saving its A-game until now. While the EP tended toward the self-consciously whimsical (like the GBV nod, "No, We Are Not Naming Our Kids After Ikea Products"), much of the LP connects more directly. The first song, "Dance Me Home," is an unequivocal statement of intent: a wistful, blissful power-pop chorus strapped to a woozy guitar figure. It's the kind of song you can picture listening to for years to come -- goddamn.
With the recent addition of Jon Gunnell on guitar and keys, Satin Gum can now lay claim to some of the more interesting playing in town these days; Gunnell and vocalist/guitarist Brian Spekis turn fuzzy slashes and whammy-bar moans into an emotional, chaotic rush. Part of the sound's appeal is certainly nostalgic -- groups like Dinosaur Jr. and early Echo and the Bunnymen lurk in the shadows -- but it's also evocative of current groups like British Sea Power.
With nine songs at just 26 minutes, the album's built for speed. The Replacements-y "Turn Me Around" is a straight-up anthem (with the amazing couplet "I always yawn when you yawn / the circumference turns me on"), while "Run for Cover" approaches Tom Petty territory. "Cemetery Secretary" might be what you get when crossing The Ramones' "Pet Semetary" with B.O.C.'s "Don't Fear the Reaper."
It's not all stunners. "Apparitions (Sweet!!!)" and "Interesting, Yes You Are" kinda slide by unnoticed, and the appeal of "I Got a D.U.I. Babe" is starting to wane, I suspect. But so what. Grab the CD, or head down to the bar and check out one of the better bands we've got going.