Lee Corey Oswald

Regards

Written by: TL on 13/09/2014 20:56:19

Since I brought you a review last night, of a band I made note of at last year's PreFEST in Florida, I figure I might as well continue in that vein tonight by taking a look at "Regards", the newest album from Portland, Oregon-based quartet Lee Corey Oswald, whom I remember having sympathy for while watching a somewhat under-attended set at the Orpheum in Tampa. On the new album the band carries on from 2011's "Moon Songs", continuing to play sort of a beat, slacker-style punk-rock, replete with broken vocal melodies that would bring singers like Morrissey or Conor Oberst to mind if it wasn't for the distinct foundation of grungy power chords and lo-fi distortion. The style is more in the vein of bands like Captain, We're Sinking, Run Forever or Tigers Jaw then, with the distinction that where those bands have an urgent or yearning way to sing about things, Lee Corey Oswald sound more like the resignated types that will complain about things demonstratively yet resort to a "whatever" sort of attitude rather than getting too hung up emotionally. They take this attitude through a variety of tempos on "Regards", yet keep the lethargic mood relatively constant, with the most distinct elements being various cheeky guitar flourishes and a solid sprinkling of recognisable lyrical hooks from singer/guitarist Lee Ellis.

The result is a record with a good helping of lines that you will find yourself humming or singing along to upon repeat listens, yet not in a very engaging way I think - Getting in depth with the lyrics and figuring out whether you think the same things suck as Lee Corey Oswald do, would probably help, but the songs aren't the type to reach out and drag listeners in and make them do so without some devoted intent on their own part. And frankly it often sounds like the band themselves aren't sure yet; whether they're too interested in getting the audience very interested. "It's a contest of caring - Who here gives a shit?" they sing on "Soda And Cigarettes", and you wonder; who indeed? The piano in the song is otherwise an example of the record's monotony being broken a bit, as is the indie-pop-ish "uhh-uhh" refrains that open the more contrastful "Snowglobe", but even alongside fellow quasi-catchy numbers like "Progress" or "Batting A Thousand", I sadly get the feeling that without their energetic live show, the songwriting needs more work, presently seeming like it needs at the same time more diversity and a more developed sense of identity.

6

Download: Progress, Snowglobe, Batting A Thousand
For The Fans Of: Captain, We're Sinking; Run Forever; Andrew Jackson Jihad; Tigers Jaw
Listen: facebook.com/LeeCoreyOswald

Release date 05.08.2014
No Sleep Records

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