Last Friday, if you were in Broad Ripple and happened to stop in at Indy CD & Vinyl between the hours of 6:30 and 8:00 pm, you’d have seen the very show that I’m now writing about. And you are therefore, exempt from reading the rest of the article.
Congratulations. Go take a break. You’ve definitely earned it after sitting through the same experience that I did. I’d hate for you to have to relive it.
I never enjoy writing negative reviews. I respect anyone willing to get in front of a group of people and express themselves with a piece of art or music that they worked hard on, and believe in. At the same time, I think it’s also good to have standards. Just because someone made something doesn’t mean that that something is particularly pleasant to listen to. But instead of playing the critic from up on his high horse, I’ll try to focus on the positive, and keep my nit pickings to a minimum.
However, there is one nit I must pick before going any further, and it is centered around that oh so important virtue: punctuality. When a show is advertised to start at 6:00 pm, it should really start then, with maybe a fifteen minute window of leeway. Fifteen to twenty minutes is understandable.
This was not the case at the Tangled Headphones EP Release show, which started nearly a full hour after it should have. The opening band didn’t even start setting up until 6:45.
Now, if you’re a band looking to appear professional, there are better ways to go about it than being “fashionably late”. That’s more like a slap in the face to any potential fans.
First Act: Kranks
Now that that little frustration is ironed out, we can get to the real stuff. Kranks were the opening band for the night. They’re a local, four-piece, alternative rock group, with a pretty standard setup of two guitars, bass, and drums.
The first thing I noticed about the Kranks’ sound as they started playing, was that the mixing was off. The vocals were too soft, and the drums too loud. Seeing as it was a show inside of a record shop, this didn’t come as a huge surprise, but it also didn’t do the Kranks any favors.
But my main complaint about the Kranks was that a lot of their songs sounded very similar in structure. They all typically begin with a nice, soft riff, then build up to a crashing, screaming chorus. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it made most of their songs blend together in my head.
The Kranks definitely have potential to be more than what they are now. They usually lock into at least one solid riff per song. The only problem is that they don’t stay in it long enough to do it justice. The Kranks are definitely capable of writing catchy and skillful parts. It’s the arranging of them into a coherent, and enjoyable song that they unfortunately lack.
Second Act: Tangled Headphones
Tangled Headphones took the stage by 7:30 pm. I’d expected the show to be over by this time, so I think my slightly grumpy mood may have affected my perception a bit.
Their first few songs were kind of depressing, a little sad, mostly due to the lead singer’s bland, monotone voice. it sounded like he was doing a bad impression of The National’s Matt Berninger.
Tangled Headphones’ stage presence also threw me for a bit of a loop. When they talked and joked around in between songs, they didn’t seem like the kind of people who would play the music they did. They actually told a few terrible knock knock jokes, and made some cringe-worthy dad puns. But a few songs in, they started playing some stuff that started to make more sense with their whimsical personalities.
One of these was a cover of “Garbage Truck” from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, which gained some points in my eyes. Even though they couldn’t nail the harmonies, it was a solid cover.
They followed up with a goofy song about science sung by the drummer. This was actually my favorite song of the night. The drummer’s voice sounded sort of like that guy from the “Monster Mash’ song. Over the top, and very funny. This was really where Tangled Headphones shined. When they played songs that let themselves take what they were doing less seriously. The whole band looked like they were having fun playing this song, and I honestly had fun listening to it.
Hopefully in the future, Tangled Headphones will keep writing songs that are fun. Because when they do, they’re giving back something special.