by nathan schwalm (mythox007) - Oct 01, 2007
Ringleader - What He Says
If you are searching for the next life-changing hip flavor, this is not it. But if you dig '90s alternative pop with a pint of sass and a solid dose of catchy melodic tunes, you have hit the jackpot.
What He Says is a sign of great things to come from this DC band. They got started as a duo in 2003 with Lena Esposito on vocals and Chris Brownelle on guitars. The main track is like some sparkling long-lost Belly tune with an obesssion with flirting. "Play Pretend" goes into an intriguing reggae groove with a lo-fi version of Gwen Stefani back in the early days of No Doubt. What keeps "Play Pretend" from being another bubblegum song is the complex lyrics that remind me of late '80s 10,000 Maniacs or Aimee Mann's bitter moments. "Jaywalker" rounds up this EP with fuzz guitar that resembles early Veruca Salt and poppy Hole moments. The only setback is that the lyrics are just plain random.
Ringleader's latest is a short but sweet companion piece to a drive around town with the windows down on a sunny afternoon. Strong stuff that needs only a little work on the lyrics, otherwise fun.