henever I go to see shows, I always hope and pray that the opening bands are worth listening to. There’s nothing worse than having to sit through thirty minutes of a band that has outstayed their welcome halfway through their first song. I was quite worried that this would be the case when I saw Superchunk a few weeks ago (one of my favorite high school hold-overs) and walked in as soon as The Rosebuds began their set. Much to my chagrin, the band strutted their stuff like no other band I had seen in quite some time. Unlike many of the groups that I’ve seen lately, The Rosebuds seemed to be having actual fun while performing.
The band, hailing from Raleigh, NC (and standing as one of the frighteningly few decent indie rock exports from NC these days) consists of guitar, keyboards, and drums, nothing ornate or experimental, just basic, time tested implements. The band used this simple setup to corral the crowd into rapt attention of which kind I’ve rarely seen given to a relatively unknown opening act. The band had the crowd by the jugular and seemed in no way awkward or timid in their performance. At the end of the set, I could hear the audience abuzz with excitement for once, rather than the general air of indifference with a few overenthusiastic onlookers.
The record itself is not all that different from their live show. It’s short, spunky, catchy, and, surprisingly for a lot of pop bands in this age, doesn’t stale after repeated listens. The band makes out extremely well with the guitar/keyboards/drums setup, and due to what seems to be sheer ingenuity, they manage to keep things consistently interesting and exciting throughout the entire album.
Things kick off with “Back to Boston”, a rousing number that should get anyone with half a heart for punchy pop on their feet. The album keeps roughly the same energetic pace throughout its duration, and kicks out more than its fair share of memorable and insatiably hummable melodies on tracks like “Waiting For The Carnival”, “Drunkards Worst Nightmare”, and “Kicks in the Schoolyard”.
It’s also notable that the lyrics don’t detract at all from the music. On more than one occasion, the perfect pop song has been ruined by lyrics that would only sound plausible coming from an eight year old with a rhyming dictionary, but The Rosebuds manage to (while not saying anything necessarily groundbreaking) toy with enough interesting/fun phrases to propel the songs into the stratosphere of saccharine pop.
The overall sound of the band harkens back to a playful 60’s pop feel, though one of the most direct comparisons I can make with them comes in the form of the mid-90’s band Guv’ner, particularly their album The Hunt. Both bands (both three pieces with one female, and both on Merge) manage with tools that many bands flounder into mediocrity with, creating a familiar, yet intrinsically unique listening experience.
Reviewed by: Landis Wine
Reviewed on: 2003-11-24