Massage - Oh Boy

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2018-07-27
Massage - Oh Boy
Massage - Oh Boy

These days we seem to operate on SEO keywords. Ok, if you want to make it more hip or mellow and skip the online business jargon, we can say buzzwords. Somebody mentions a new band coming up with a debut album and the ‘buzz words’ abound. Of course, you need some reference, but often reference is way off, rarely hitting the exact mark, even if it comes from the band members themselves.

Los Angeles newbies Massage don’t have that problem. The buzz words for their sound and what you can expect from their debut album Oh Boy are right on the money - jangle pop, The Feelies, The Go-Betweens, Sarah Records, Flying Nun… Or if you want to hear it directly from the guys, as one of the guitarists/vocalists (a former journalists, by the way) Alex Romano puts it: “Part of what inspired us to start Massage was this new generation of Australian bands like Twerps and Boomgates and Dick Diver, who are ostensibly doing a very retrograde thing – I mean, they’re mostly white guys playing guitar rock – but somehow finding a sweet spot that Americans, who tend toward the muscular and melodramatic, always seem to miss: messier and more casual, but also catchier somehow.”

Frankly, all of it is right, Massage have that inexplicable, intricate melodicism of The Go-Betweens, and somewhat off-kilter, almost ramshackle sound of The Clean right down to a pat. Those dual male-female vocals The Go-Betweens and The Bats used or use so often to a great effect are there too, courtesy of Romano, keyboardist/vocalist Gabrielle Ferrer and Alex Naidus, the other guitarist/vocalist and seemingly the leader of the proceedings here (formerly of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart). The rhythm section of Michael Felix and David Rager do exactly what they are supposed for this kind of a sound - nothing exceedingly fancy, but good enough to make the vocals and guitars sound exactly as they should.

Massage has obviously studied all aspects of the Antipodean/Sarah sound to perfection and has successfully transferred it to their LA surroundings. It all works a charm and sounds like somewhat overgrown teenagers singing about more serious stuff like fatherhood, settling down and ambition, as Romano puts it. I guess that is what the album cover is all about.

Massage's music passes by you as a summer breeze which you remember for the pleasing coolness it brings along, whether it is the jangly title track, very catchy “Kevin’s Coming Over” or seemingly busy “Breaking Up”, or any of the 12 tracks here, for that matter. Actually, Oh Boy comes up with the music that you need to go back to any time of the year.

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