Male Bonding – Endless Now

endlessnow

Male Bonding – Endless Now
SubPop
August 29, 2011

What It Sounds Like:  A shoegaze band deciding to quit all the experimental walls of sound, trade their feedback for semi-hooks, dabble in some power pop, and simply rock out!

For the life of me, I can’t remember how I was introduced to Male Bonding.  Before even knowing what this sounded like, I do remember, however, thinking two distinct things:  This could either be really noisy distorted rock (because of the album artwork’s bleak landscape) or really indie lo-fi dream pop (again, because of the album artwork’s bleak landscape).  Thankfully, it turned out to be much more accessible than either one of my preconceived ideas.  Whether you’re a fan of pop hooks or not, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find something to enjoy here.  It’s easy to take without feeling like you’re being spoon-fed.

And they aren’t pretty / You can’t be picky / And you amuse me / The things you say / I’ll still get nothing / Ain’t gonna move yet / You see me changing / Now you mean everything to me delivers lead singer and guitarist John Webb on the power-popping garage track What’s That Scene.  There’s nothing remarkably different about his voice, but I can’t help but be drawn to it.  He sounds like Matthew Caws crossed with a clean-cut East London bartender.  It serves him well – his delivery is both sweet and the slightest bit muddy at the same time.  His lyrics aren’t overly introspective, as you’ve just witnessed.  Let’s give him another go:  And it feels just so heavy / And you know that this ain’t make believe / And they say that I don’t dream / It’s not true / You’re happening to me (from Can’t Dream).  Hey, take from it what you will.  The songs are exciting and snappy enough to keep your attention without trying to dissect some well-constructed analogies about love or drugs or your brand new car.  The words fit the tunes:  loose and fun.

They do it all the way through the record.  They may try to channel a little more of their indie punk side on Channeling Your Fears, and possibly a little throwback retro-feel on the uber-catchy Carrying.  Why not throw in a dash of  90s alternative on Seems To Notice Now?  These guys keep it all in the same vein, but add small nuances here and there to keep the record from running together into one big fast-paced mess.

This is solid, and it’s enjoyable.

7/10

If you had to listen to two tracks:  Carrying / What’s That Scene


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