What do you get when you mix three seasoned musicians from …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Red Sparowes, and Broken Bells? The appropriate answer is LVMRKS. Considering the exposition of the band, Pale Fairytale is the album everyone would expect from this supergroup of sorts.
“Blue Eyed Suicide” sets the scene with a bit of a punk edge and Neil Busch’s slurred vocals. There’s almost a Strokes vibe going on, but the band know how to keep things cool and restrain this number. The title track sounds like the band covering a Tiger Army track with some disjointed drumming and funky guitar. Overall, the first half of the album seems to struggle to get on its tonal feet. “In Scars” could be a ballad in an alternate universe. The band know how to straddle the line between indie and noise rock, and do it well.
The second half is where things get happening. “Don’t Save Me,” perhaps the most accessible song on the record, would be at home in any smoky venue. As with most of the songs, Busch’s guitar is what holds the songs together, though this track grooves the whole way through. The intro to “Sidewalks of the Dawn” is a cool, James Bond-esque riff that descends chromatically over phasers. The vocal harmonies are a bit unsettling, but this track features some of the best drumming on the album. One thing about LVMRKS: when one member strays, the others rein the sound back in by controlling it from their position.
For all the experience these guys have, it’s surprising the album doesn’t have more of a kick to it. While it’s fine for what it is, it gets a bit bland at times and causes cases of Have I Heard This Before? syndrome. Despite this, Pale Fairytale offers ten good old alt-rock tunes that will find a place on the shelves of old school fans. At the very least, it’ll be interesting to see what the band does in the future.
MP3: LVMRKS “Valentine”