Reviews

Coach Has a Vehicle

JILL MANDRAKE

The maverick sound of Vancouver indie pop band Coach StrobCam immediately pulled me in as I listened to the six tracks of their eponymous CD. The opening tune, “The Problem (Is You),” staggered me with the gritty voice, and grittier lyrics, of Pete Campbell (also a member of David M’s No Fun band). The second track, “Milk and Honey (Don’t Grow on Trees)” switched styles with a ¾ time signature: a surprise waltz. This made me think of the early Beatles hit, “Baby’s in Black,” and how it was the first song their fans could waltz to (I mean, if they felt like it). Then “Sensible” (“you’re being sensible / you know I hate when you do that”) featured keyboards that oscillated like the transistor organs of Vancouver’s early garage-punk bands, such as The Chessmen and The Painted Ship. By “transistor,” I’m thinking of the cheesy sound that reverberated through a tinny receiver; it’s a difficult tone to emulate, but this number nailed it. Next, the accordion, tambourine, and jangly rhythm guitar of “You Can’t Look Away” reminded me of Queen Ida and her Bon Temps Zydeco Band. “Under the Stairs” followed, with a similar good-time feeling, except that it morphed into a combination of Queen Ida and Jefferson Starship. Coach StrobCam reserved the best for last: “The Question” is comprised of tormented vocals and mellifluent shrugs: “When your life’s a mess / you don’t blame your best laid plans / When he breaks your heart / you don’t blame his wife and kids.” As you may have guessed, the unasked question which remains is: “Are we gonna do it anyway?” It had me answering aloud, “No, don’t, you’ll regret it!” If early Beatles were a big influence on this CD, and if Coach Strobcam covered the Beatles song “I’m a Loser,” I guarantee they’d do an empathetic, bang-up job.

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JILL MANDRAKE

Jill Mandrake writes strange but true stories and leads Sister DJ’s Radio Band, featuring rhythm and blues covers, post-vaudeville original tunes and occasional comedy bits. https://hido.bandcamp.com/album/the-neti-pot

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