News on the March
Although the last place anyone might expect to hear News on the March's harmonically rich Grand Ole Opry rock is when surrounded by bikinis, towels and crashing waves, there's an essence of the Beach Boys in the local quintet and sand among the sawdust on its official debut, Glory Be! (The EP). (The Some Songs EP, loaded with sure-to-be future B-sides, floated around earlier this year.) Gillian Williams's cello swings into opener "Hey Operator," whose three-part harmonies sing the influence of the surf-loving California dreamers, while "Whiskey Deuce" follows with slow-gallop swing. The barbershop harmonies of "Holdin' Hands 'n' Texas Sunshine" again bring back thoughts of Brian Wilson and friends onstage at a honky-tonk, but "Song for Your Sweetie" is more Beatles than Beach Boys — NOTM turns a familiar tale of dying love into a Nashville-styled "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." "A Clappin' Good Time" polishes the EP off with a lazy-Sunday sway that ends with a choral outro. Glory Be! loses a few points for omitting live favorites such as "Moving Pictures," which should nevertheless show up Saturday; maybe NOTM is simply saving that one for the full-length.
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