Monday, October 20, 2014

Colour Trip - Ringo Deathstarr

Colour Trip
Ringo Deathstarr
Club AC30  AC308021

This is the debut full-length LP by the Texas band Ringo Deathstarr pressed on avocado-green vinyl.  I was initially attracted to the band because of their fabulous name but when I heard some of their music on KXLU, I became an instant fan.  They could have called themselves "The Beatles Suck" and I still would have bought this record.  The band's mixture of psych and shoegaze is right in my wheelhouse and I play this record a lot.  It gets off to a strong start with the noisy "Imagine Hearts."  Bassist Alex Gehring has a lovely voice but I can barely hear her over the band's raucous playing.  Guitarist Elliott Frazier takes the mike for "Do It Every Time" which is a hard rocking song about breaking up.  Gehring and Frazier share vocals on "So High" which is a high energy, poppy song that reminds me of Heavenly and Talulah Gosh.  It is one of my favorite tracks on the album.  I think it is about getting high on love.  "Two Girls" is a dreamy slice of shoegaze reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine.  Frazier croons the psychedelic love song "Kaleidoscope."  Side one ends with the aptly named "Day Dreamy" which features another lead vocal from Frazier.  Like "Kaleidoscope" it also features some trippy lyrics, but it is a considerably slower tune, being more of a drone.  I think this group is more effective at high velocity.  The song has its moments though and I particularly like the line "she was just a teardrop, I was just a waste of time."  Side two gets off to a thunderous start with the pounding "Tambourine Girl" which is sung by Frazier.  The song is a paean to the title character and features a nice slow/heavy versus fast/poppy dynamic that I find very stimulating.  It is another one of my favorite cuts.  Guitar noise carries the day on "Chloe."  I can't understand most of what Frazier is singing about but I gather that he digs the girl of the title.  I find Frazier's breathy vocal on "Never Drive" even harder to decipher aside from his desire for someone to kiss him.  It is a hard rocking cut that reminds me of the Jesus and Mary Chain.  "You Don't Listen" is about a disintegrating relationship due to communication issues.  It is another rocker sung by Frazier.  The side ends with "Other Things" which is a who-needs-money-when-we-have-each-other type song.  The band slows down the tempo from their usual high speed pace and tones down the guitar noise as well enhancing Gehring's languid vocal.  The usual knock on Ringo Deathstarr is that they are too derivative and unoriginal.  I can't argue with that, but it doesn't bother me.  I love the music that inspires them and can never get enough of it.  The songwriting is more of a problem for me.  I don't mind the banality of the lyrics so much (especially since I can rarely understand them) but I think the band could benefit from stronger melodies and more variety in their music.  As much as I enjoy listening to their songs, not many of them stick with me when the record is over.  On the plus side, I love their sound and the instrumental textures they produce.  This record consistently excites me and gets me bopping.  Recommended to fans of Black Tambourine.

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