Headlights and Evangelicals make it pop. - Oh My Rockness

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Headlights and Evangelicals make it pop.

March 11, 2008
Two wonderful pop bands make songs most melodic in two very different ways. If you like your pop straight-up with a splash of synth, go for Headlights. If you're more into crazy skewed pop with a smattering of psych, go for Evangelicals.

If you just can't decide what type of pop lover you are and are just unsure if you'll be into Headlights or Evangelicals more, you're in luck. They're playing two shows together so you can sample both and see which style most satisfies your pop palette. But allow for the possibility that you'll love both. After all pop, no matter what its form, is the great Uniter.

If you like Stars, you'll like Headlights. You can also compare them to a less-annoying version of Mates of State (who were once on Headlights current label, Polyvinyl).

This very pleasant indie-pop band out of Champaign, IL (Bruce Weber Foreva!) composes three-minute songs that practically ooze with gooey toe-tapping melodies. Led by Erin Fein's fine (sorry) vocals and warm keyboard skills, along with Tristan Wraight's gentile guitar, Headlights certainly seek to soothe a listeners' pop sensibility.

And don't take this musical seduction to mean that Headlights' songs are downers; most of them are vibrantly upbeat. They're neatly constructed, so cordially that you can't help but cast your cares away when you hear them.

Headlights have played over 300 shows in their few years of existence, and you can tell they've got it tightly together. There's no slop in this pop. I still can't decide if Evangelicals' singer Josh Jones sounds like Alec Ounsworth (of Clap Your Hands) or Cass McCombs or Rufus Wainwright. Weird. Anyway this Oklahoma quartet (there are other bands there besides The Flaming Lips) plays crazy skewed pop that falls somewhat into psych territory, but really that's just because the songs are strange and sometimes they "jam."

A lot of the time though, this just sounds to me like good old-fashioned math-rock. There are lots of guitar noodlings over falsetto squeals (courtesy of Jones) that zigzag up and down over pretty straight-forward melodies. Call Evangelicals an accessible inaccessible band. And for a group that likes to get all insane with structure, it's comforting to know that Josh Jones can actually sing. His pipes keep the band's intentional musical misdirections from becoming a chore to listen to.

No matter how you like you're pop, there's a good chance you'll be into one of these bands. And there's a better chance you'll be into both Headlights and Evangelicals. If you don't like pop, well, you're shit out of luck for this one.

Headlights and Evangelicals play Silverlake Lounge, on Wednesday, March 19th.


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