Wallpaper, a Washington three-piece consisting of brothers Derek and Spencer Kelley and childhood friend Steven Potter, offers a refreshing listening experience in the form of good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll.
Unlike the glut of indie bands post-turn-of-the-millennium there are no gimmicks. They do not brandish offbeat instruments such as auto-harp or bassoon. Electronic embellishments, kept to a minimum, are definitively lo-fi. Here, in earnest enthusiasm of rock's grand past, are fuzzy guitar hooks, some R & B bass riffs, and straight-up beats. Embellishments here are hand claps, tambourine jangles, a little bongo and xylophone, and a dash of slide guitar for good measure. Classic indie rock if you will, equally indebted to Pavement and the Kinks.
On the Chewing Gum Ground's shiniest moments come when electronic embellishments are virtually nil as in "Auto Bop," an uptempo bass, cymbal, and tambourine heavy ditty with a simple song structure that finds all three men yowling "mo-mo-mo-mo," "I want to tell you," and "ah-ah-ahhhhhh." Another gem is "Total Explosion."
The album's weaker moments come when effects do stand out. "Vertigo," an especially Pavement-esque track overflowing with retro synths, comes off as a bit muddled. Here the chorus is more jarring than catchy and the hooks lose focus.
Wallpaper's debut full-length makes for an enjoyable spin, offering glimpses of a band whose love for simplicity translates into good times. • Katy Henriksen
find them online at myspace.com/publicstudents
also at their most illustrious label krecs.com