Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Keepin the Beat Going Strong

The list of songs that make lanky white people like myself want to dance is admittedly and thankfully short. Virtually every song on the Beatles' debut LP, Please Please Me, falls into this category. The Beatles are endlessly covered, oft-imitated, repeatedly name-checked and almost always deified by rock and rollers. Just as I defend Across the Universe on the grounds that Lennon/McCartney is like Rodgers/Hammerstein, I usually defend those imitating the Beatles if I feel they're doing so genuinely.

Such is the case with the Rhodes and their debut album, Modern Sounds from Northern Towns. The Rhodes are four barely-20 youngsters from upstate NY with an ear for backup vocals and a desire to flatter their icons and twist their influences. All the band members sing and all play their instruments with a technical proficiency rare for their age. The album doesn't do justice to the band's live show, which is a solid 40-60 bpm faster per song for good reason and to great success. Nevertheless, their studio album is fun, bouncy, and above all else, pretty gosh darn impressive.

Snap it up before their manager goes gay for the lead singer, the quiet one finds acid, the drummer refuses to sign autographs and the bass player marries a chick with one leg.