Monday, August 07, 2006
Last month, Swedish label Labrador Records sent two of their signature pop bands on a week-long excursion to the U.S., with 7 quick stops to the east of the Mississippi River. Boston was lucky enough to be one of 'em, when The Legends and Acid House Kings played TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA on July 10th.
While A.H.K. have been around far longer, I was way more familiar with The Legends thanks to being sent their debut disc, 'Up Against The Legends', a couple years back. Guitar hooks and Motown bass lines, sing-along choruses and handclaps galore, programmed beats and slightly distorted vocals that all came together in twelve short and catchy-as-hell pop songs. And while some of the promo material painted the project as a multi-member affair, a little web-surfing revealed that it was actually all from the mind of Johan Angerg�rd, himself a longtime member of Acid House Kings.
The fact that it's a one-man studio band helps explain why The Legends second album, 'Public Radio', revealed such a drastic change in style and sound... it's easier for a bicycle to negotiate a hairpin turn than it is for a van full of bandmates. While the memorable melodies and warm production remains, gone is much of the distortion and the anthemic choruses, replaced by echoey guitars, subtler vocals, and reverbed drum beats that fans of Seventeen Seconds-era Cure or early New Order will warm to immediately. Fortunately, I'm one of those fans, so I not only took to the disc right away, but was more than a little impressed by Johan's ability to mutate so dramatically.
I will say this, though... sometimes the Cure influence comes off more as blatant homage than incorporation, almost uncomfortably so. Listen to The Legends 'Air' alongside the Cure's 'M' and you'll hear what I mean. And is it simply coincidence that a recent single is titled 'Play It For Today'? If it is, and Angerg�rd grew up in some sort of Cure-free bubble, then color me amazed. Either way, it all makes me very curious to see what's up his sleeve for album number three.
The newer singles may offer a bit of a hint, with dancier material that Johan only-half-jokingly called 'disco' at TTs last month. The studio-project aspect made me very curious about the live show, so I was happy to see a full band (live drummer, keyboard, two guitars, and bass) take the stage. The songs from 'Up Against...' are more obviously energetic, so I wasn't too surprised to find just two songs from 'Public Radio' ('Hide Away' and 'People Like Us') make it into their short nine song set. The rest were from either the debut disc, from the two more recent releases ('Blue Lights' from the 'Play It For Today' EP, 'Lucky Star' from a brand new EP). And as far as I know, the opener 'Darling' has yet to be recorded. Here's the set...
Live at TT the Bears
Monday, July 10th, 2006
02. The Kids Just Wanna Have Fun
03. Hide Away
04. People Like Us
05. Your Song
06. There And Back Again
07. Lucky Star
08. Blue Light
09. Call It Ours
Some Legends links...
Next week: The Acid House Kings set from the same show.
the fine print... If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (email link on left). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Mp3s are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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