New Music Review: Fast Romantics – Kidcutter (EP)

I try my darndest to “follow-back” and “sample” the bands and artists who follow me on the Twitterverse.  Sometimes it takes a few weeks before I get a chance to listen to them, sometimes it takes no time at all.  And sometimes I don’t listen, for whatever reason.

Fortunately, this was not the case when I took the liberty of checking out the Fast Romantics.

My first impression of this 5-piece from the capital of Ontario was solid, as it began with their lead-off single Cool Kids, which has been featured on the popular TV series, Vampire Diaries.  The track begins with an arousal of drums, and quickly finds some staccato’d piano (my terminology may be off) for company.  Not long after the keys join in the fun, they’re accompanied by vocal harmonies in the feel of doo-wop, but with a contemporary flare.  This is pop rock minus the blinding glare of Top 40 (Moves Like Jagger) and summoning future ghosts of Springsteen and Costello.

In fact, the group’s bandcamp page reads: “Picture Elvis Costello being gang-beaten by Arcade Fire, and you’re halfway to explaining the sound of Fast Romantics.”   As that brief bio reads, Fast Romantics blend sounds and influences from the past intricately with those of today.  In my opinion, however, I think Costello is unleashing a little more fury on Arcade Fire than the other way around.

The classic tones continue to prevail with tracks like Last Night (not a cover of this) and the gleeful pity of Denim Tuxedo, where lead singer/guitarist Matthew Angus sings “But baby, you’re not my kind, so I’m trying to forget you,” and blends the song with an oddly joyful chorus of Bye-bye-bye’s.  The contrast works well and I’d dub this the “drinking tune” on the album.

The track that got my attention pretty fast and had me reaching for the big red repeat button on my iPod was Pretty Strangers.  The Fast Romantic formula is at full tilt and the melody amidst the vocal line “She keeps me warm” is sexy, soaring and satisfying.  Actually, the entire song is sexy, soaring and satisfying.  Those are the three S’s that make for a good tune.  [I may have made that up on the spot, but it works, yes?]

Last but not least is Union Park, a fun track as well, riddled with images of love and loneliness making for yet another contrast in lyrical tone with upbeat tempo and melodies.  Angus croons in each song as if he’s been fronting a band for decades, which gives each track a sincere, I’ve-been-there kind of a feel.

If I haven’t sold you on Fast Romantics quite yet, you should really just check them out for yourself.  I’ve become a fan and look forward to attending their first yet-to-be-scheduled Vancouver show (hint-hint, nudge-nudge).

You can get their whole fantastic EP for only $1 right here: Fast Romantics Bandcamp

If you like what you hear, be sure to take a listen to their previous, self-titled LP from 2009.

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~ by whet_hopped on December 27, 2011.

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