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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mark H. » Music » The AV Club - "S/T"

"I Should Have Said Something Before"
Late Reviews By Mark H.

The AV Club
S/T
(Knock Knock/Insubordination)

After seeing this band play an awesome live set I had a brief discussion with bassist Jon. After lauding him with my own personal praises I also mentioned that my wife Jessica really enjoyed the set. Jon revealed that the band themselves have discovered that they are a good “couples” band. After listening to the album a few hundred times I’m in complete agreement. The AV Club is a good “couples” band. They’re a good first date band. They’re a good old lovers band. They are a band for people who are, have been, or will be in a relationship. I think it’s important to note that I’d recommend this disc to such a wide audience, because this is truly one of those albums that I believe everyone should hear – it’s a wonderful release, despite the unfortunate negative connotations that go with the words directly below.

The A/V Club’s self-titled debut is an incredibly safe, inarguably accessible pop/rock album. Every single song rocks along in a pleasing, harmless, manner. Kids of the 90s who look fondly on the angst-less Lemonheads radio days will eat this up. The (albeit aging) hipsters who remember when Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were cool will soak this in. Any number of songs from this disc could fit right on the shelf with those countless “feel good hit of the summer” singles. This trio should be on the cover of Unthreatening Boys Monthly.

Just had to get that out of my system. “Sweethearts At 17” and “Girl From Mars” is my favorite one-two opening punch since I can’t remember when. Gobs of hooks and harmonies, streams of melodic lines that flow like wine coolers. The ballad “Degrees Of Grey” and the peppier “Lost My Head” clue us into a main distinction between the AV Club and, say, the likes of the Gin Blossoms/Soul Asylum/Counting Crows/Goo Goo Dolls/insert similar alt-rock band in their 90s form. All those bands had mopey-sounding, and overall lazy singers, whereas vocalist Aaron sings with a bright, natural voice, capable of controlling the pop when it alters slightly from reminiscent to melancholy.

“Midnight Bus” is a great “don’t leave me” plea, and “Trouble Girls” is a bonafide party anthem with a nice, swervy chorus hook and a rockingness almost approaching Figgs territory. “Without You” keeps the tempo going on the quick side, probably the closest this band has come to anything closely resembling pop punk. The riff actually reminds me of something on the Queers’ “Don’t Back Down” (which is a good thing). “Don’t Take That Part Of Me” has me thinking Charlie Brown Gets A Valentine-lite (sorry, guys!) More melodic charm comes through with “Everybody Sees My Love” and the album closer “Crazy Circles”, which is the song that should rightfully close the set. Despite the creepy lyrics, it’ll leave you swaying with your girl (or boy), moving with the groove and getting ready to walk home to bed.

As I bounce from webzine to blog to wherever my words end up, I try to point those who bother to pay attention to very specific bands and hidden mix-tape gems. Much to the A/V Club’s credit, they are getting recommendations across the board. Everyone should own this.

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