Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Explorers Club "The Explorers Club"

Artist: The Explorers Club
Album: The Explorers Club [EP]
Label: Self-Released
Release date: 2006
Genre: Rock
Style: Pop

01. Forever
02. Priscilla
03. Summer Air
04. I Lost My Head
05. Last Kiss
06. Don't Forget The Sun
Total running time: 14' 55"

[The Explorers Club - Forever - Live @ Cat's Cradle]

[The Explorers Club - Johnny B. Goode - Live @ Cat's Cradle]

"Music may deserve better than being reduced to a fetish object, but it’s hard to deny that some music practically cries out to be held in your hand. Like, for instance, the Explorers Club’s self-titled EP. I hasten to add that the lack of any physical form hardly makes their music bad; the five songs that comprise their debut are uniformly excellent (even the instrumental!) in ways which, to convey properly, would necessitate my reaching through the screen, grabbing your ears, and screaming directly into your face until you click “buy.” But I can’t listen to it without pining for something I can stick in my shelves, if only to reassure myself that no hard-drive crash or iPod failure can rob me of what I’m hearing.

To be fair, the Explorers Club themselves most definitely deserve the assist on that front; it’s hard not to objectify a band’s music when they’re clearly just as fetishistic as you. On paper, their sound probably isn’t anything too remarkable—“Hey guys! I just found another band that loves the Beach Boys!” “Is that the Association I hear in there?” etc.—but wait until you hear this stuff play out. Their EP might as well be one twenty-minute treatise on the ecstasies of getting something to sound just right—after all, it’s one thing to admire Carl Wilson or Phil Spector’s gifts, but it’s another thing entirely to try to make use of similar gifts in the same way.

And it should immediately be pointed out that the Club gets a hell of a lot of mileage out of those gifts. It’s easy to fetishize songs like “Forever”—a song so flawlessly conceived and executed that the band may well spend their whole career trying to top it—when they not only sound so much like objects in the first place, but sound like unforgettable objects to boot. Heck, even by itself “Forever,” with its galloping drums and searing falsettos, obliterates any notions of pastiche; listening to this song for the first time feels like unearthing something forgotten by a generation of foolish parents, like it’s been lying in ambush for forty-odd years waiting for you to saunter past. Who wouldn’t want to literally hold onto a song like that?

I suppose it must be pointed out that none of the other four songs on the EP come close to the dizzying highs of “Forever,” but I’m hard-pressed to care; it’s not like Johnny Boy ever came close to matching their first single. Besides, if “Forever” is an unimpeachable recreation of a big ‘60s pop single, what’s wrong with its little brothers and sisters being recreations of ‘60s album tracks? Sometimes it’s more than enough for a song simply to carry you along for two or three minutes, and there’s certainly no shortage of infectiously sun-dappled buoyancy on songs like “Don’t Forget the Sun” or “Summer Air” even if they don’t plant a flag in the middle of your forehead.

Look, I could go on all day and all night singing this EP’s praises. But my goal here isn’t to hip you to good music (a commodity whose availability practically borders on oppressive these days) so much as to pique the interest of fellow chasers of a certain dragon. The value of the Explorers Club’s EP isn’t what it sounds like but rather the feelings it triggers. A downside? Only the “panic” at the idea of living without it." [source]


1 comment:

Phil Andrews said...

Hi there,

I just posted a phone interview with Jason Brewer of The Explorers Club to my blog. Take a listen - I hope you'll enjoy it.

Phil Andrews
Palo Alto Pop Overthrow
90.1FM KZSU Stanford