Let's Whisper - The Shortest Days - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Let's Whisper - The Shortest Days

by Al Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2011-04-09

This is a side project of The Smittens, a band so twee they, well, they called themselves The Smittens. Essentially it's a bedroom recording project that sometimes appears live as an acoustic duo, or as a four or five-piece band (according to the press release), but revolves around Dana Kaplan (yearning, sincere vocals) and Colin Clary (nasal, yearning, sincere vocals).

  • The record has a solid start: 'California Girls' is not as good as the Beach Boys song, but on a par with The Magnetic Fields song if the same name - it actually sounds a bit like the latter band, all peppy drum-machine and yearning lyrics, although without any of the acerbic wit. 'All Happy Endings' is undeniably catchy in a very Architecture in Helsinki way. I kind of want to take ecstasy and lose myself in the total carefree fantasy of the lyrics ("We'll still be valentines come spring/ Our love keeps trumping everything!"), but that's probably not a very twee thing to do.

    Architecture In Helsinki are the most obviously similar band to Let's Whisper: the boy-girl vocals, mixture of analogue and digital instruments and fluffy lyrics are all familiar. Let's Whisper are less adventurous when it comes to song structure and dynamics, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Whereas AIH sometimes lose themselves in excitable, intricate odysseys with new hooks and bridges flying in from all angles, Let's Whisper are content to write in predictable verse-chorus-verse patterns - but they do it well, Kaplan and Clary's vocals always out front, sounding wistful and empathetic.

    Inevitably when producing such simple pop music, some of it is going to sound like pop music that has gone before. Final track 'Let's Whisper' sounds a bit too much like 'Ask' by The Smiths for comfort, but maybe it's a concious homage rather than (subconscious) stealing. Likewise, a lot of this stuff sounds like slowed-down punk-pop: crank up the guitars a bit and 'Meet Me on the Dance Floor' is suddenly a Blink-182 song.

    Whether you dig this will depend, for a large part, on whether you know what Popfests are, or still think about meeting the cardigan-wearing-girl-of-your-dreams at the back of a Comet Gain gig. This type of music is so underground - which seems weird because it's as immediate as anything else out there, and also because 'underground' usually implies rebelliousness, and this is anything but - anyway, I guess there's only a handful of people in today's world who want the (occasionally sickly) sincerity that defines this music. If you're one of them this is as good as anything I've heard so far.

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