This Indianapolis sextet at first appeared to be jumping aboard the grad school rock train, a la the Decemberists plaintive, nasal male vocals, fanciful and bookish imagery. But rather than sounding too (nauseatingly) clever, this debut succeeds in blending restrained, mournful instrumentation with lyrics that convey real emotion. There are stark acoustic ballads in Jane is Bringin the Drugs and A Light on a Hill, and such feedback-laden ditties as Quiet as a Mouse boast trumpets, electric piano and a dramatic mid-song tempo change.
Frontman-songwriter Richard Edwards is a professed devotee of filmmaker Wes Anderson Margot comes from Gwyneth Paltrows character in The Royal Tenenbaums and the music would side nicely with Nick Drake and Nico on that movies sound track. By turns rocking and folksy, incorporating cello, wispy female harmonies and crunching guitars, the bands blend of polish and earnestness sparkles. Its perfect for that melancholy descent into a Midwestern winter where memories are real or imagined, where drinking grainy coffee from Styrofoam cups with a homemade scarf wrapped around your neck is everything thats hopeful.
9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at the Blind Pig, 208 S. First, Ann Arbor; 714-996-8555. With Rogue Wave.
Monica Price is a Metro Times editorial intern. Send comments to [email protected].