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Feature Crush: C.D. On Songs, 11/03/09

November 3, 2009

Can anyone guess what might be today’s theme?

The Susan Constant – “Charles de Gaulle” [download]
There are several aspects of a good musical leitmotif. I mean, most bands don’t even bother with them, let alone know what they are. “Charles de Gaulle” is a fantastic example of a group making use of the device that is sadly absent from most modern music.
In the case of The Susan Constant’s “Charles de Gaulle, the leitmotif is introduced in the very top of the song. A slow rising chord progression and a strong, swooping and dipping melody line combine to create the ride that this song becomes.
The theme of “Charles de Gaulle” proves itself capable at varying levels of speed and power, from the earnest beginnings of the track to the thumping, pounding pulse of the chorus delivered at full throttle. The rhythmic call and response of the vocal and guitar in the chorus really brings the hook home, as the vocals accentuate the word “-waiting-” and the guitar answers with its own slashing accent. The chorus will stick with the listener, whether or not they have a silly little mustache.

The Crushing Low – “Dead Man’s Hands” [download]
Sometimes, bands give themselves a perfect name. Now we can’t assume that each of The Crushing Low’s songs sound just like the moody “Dead Man’s Hands,” but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the other songs are at least in the same vein.
If we can get behind this idea, then we can probably expect more guitar driven melancholy from the remainder of the band’s catalog. “Dead Man’s Hands” is powered by guitar, but not exclusively so. While the signature riff returns after phrases and in turbulent breaks, the chorus rises abruptly into the clouds and mountaintops, with the familiar guitar theme not too far behind, as a sort of micro-nod to the dynamic present in some of U2’s more epic songs.
Towards the final quarter of the song’s length, things open up into new territory, a bass-powered coda that is brief yet memorable in it’s almost dance-like finale to the heretofore downwardly mobile sound. “Dead Man’s Hands” shifts gears and invites us to shift gears with it.

The Painted Lights – “Perfect Circle” [download]
Like a strong-willed musical personal trainer, The Painted Lights grab your arm with “Perfect Circle” and give you an enthusiastic “Let’s do this!” and then pull you along through a song that is supremely lively and upbeat.
The Painted Lights’ EKG meter bounces all over the place, never coming remotely close to flatlining or even slowing down. Their strength lies in their ability to bring us along on the trip.
Even if you don’t think you have the energy to possibly deal with any sort of bounciness or musical chutzpah, that’s OK with The Painted Lights, they have energy to spare. And they do communicate and share their energy with the listener throughout the track. The group doesn’t so much pull the listener along as they impel the listener, lending their energy through the music, and not asking for any back.

The Sound of Growing Up – “Drifting” [download]
Have you ever heard, or possibly even considered what the post-modern doo-wop sound might be? Especially if it was backed by what sounds to be an oddly-amped ukulele? Is this truly The Sound of Growing Up, or is this the sound of the last human in future world, a human who has taught his robotic companions how to clap in rhythm, use a tambourine and of course play that weird electro-uke.
Ignoring the grim reminder of humanity’s future demise, one realizes that one can really get into the oddly off-kilter sound of the appropriately titled “Drifting.” The sound of youth is tempered by the “Oh, well” tone of the vocals, as if the singer is somewhat exasperated. You want to help him, but you also delight in earnest, chin-up spirit of the performance. Maybe he’ll survive after all, with a little help from the robots, God knows there are plenty of them hanging around at the Stata Center, so hang in there, little buddy.

Want to submit your band’s song to C.D. On Songs?

To be reviewed in a C.D. On Songs column:
  • Be a Boston-based band/artist.
  • Email a single mp3/m4a/etc. (or a download link to one) to cdonsongs (at) gmail (dot) com, with the subject line “C.D. on Songs” (DO NOT send us a bunch of songs and make us pick, we will ignore you). We require a file – not a streaming link.
  • Include album cover art if you have any. If you don’t, a band photo or logo is acceptable.
  • We will assume that we have your permission to make the song downloadable on Boston Band Crush (readers will want to hear it, after all).
  • If that’s not ok with you, say so and provide us with a link to the song on an embeddable player like ReverbNation – something we can include in the post (and not just link to).

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