In case you hadn't noticed, the '80s are back. They have been for a few years, but it seems like with each passing year we get more and more new bands wearing their influences on their sleeve. That's putting it mildly. The influence is, in fact, so pervasive as to make these bands practically offensive carbon copies of the originals.
The best, like any generation, blend their influences into their sounds to present us with something new that merely reminds us of the old. After all, Led Zeppelin copied blues artists relentlessly, yet no one would question that they took that and did their own thing with it.
This is seemingly a lost art, however, in an atmosphere where many have figured out the exact specs of the instruments used by the original musicians so as to copy their sounds even more efficiently. So consider this your guide to who's acting as a Xerox machine this year.
It's hard to imagine anyone making indie-pop less interesting in the current environment, but how about a fuzzed-out version of A Flock of Seagulls with "washed out" vocals in the background? That's apparently what DIIV is going for. Can someone please inform bands like this how to sing?
I liked the distant, faded vocals as much as the next guy at first, but it's time for someone to actually use their voice again, rather than standing 20 feet from the microphone while their band plays new wave.
For a (somewhat) dissenting opinion, see Tuesday's review of Metric at House of Blues -- ed.
I can't be the only one that thinks "Blondie" as soon as he hears this song and sees the video. Sure, it's updated for our "modern times," but it's the same attitude, the same synths being employed in the background, the same chords (just more distortion), and a sub-Debbie Harry singing and dancing.
The worst part is, I really like this against all better judgment. I see through what they're doing, but at least they're doing it really well.