I burn, I pine, I perish! Wait, actually I do none of these things while listening to the latest release by (Insert City Name Here)-based duo Jim Saunders and Chris Farrell, The Social Side of Midnight. Collectively known as Pushcar, these two pseudo-rockers don’t really do enough of anything to make a less-than abhorrent record. There’s no real sound here. The band/label’s website doesn’t even mention where they are from, although after enough digging I have my suspicions that they’re from California.
The intros to almost every song are vaguely similar, containing the same generic and comfortable guitar sound that I grow tired, nay weary, of. The vocals are pretty terrible. I feel bad saying it, but no matter how many times I try and convince myself it’s o-kay, everything in my inner being tells me it’s not. Is that harsh?! I was still listening to it while I typed up this review, and it was so bland I was having a hard time not turning it off. Alack, I had to continue! I started getting hopeful when I heard the sixth track, “Julio,” a muggy-summer-night sort of song that starts off with the sound of croaking frogs and delicately arpeggiated guitar riffs. This is probably the best song on the album, and if there weren’t female backing vocals with this one, whoever’s squeezing those vocals out of their chords needs a few voice lessons yet. The band’s manifesto is to “create music with notes and words and things.” They definitely use some words, some notes, and some things. But it doesn’t create anything worth listening to, save a comfortable and all-too-worn-out indie sound.
This brings me to a cathartic end: If you can’t say anything nice, then just shut the hell up. There are a couple tracks that grow on you, if you’re doing something else distracting, like talking on the phone or playing Bounce Out. Hey, I’m just being honest here! Okay I gotta go clean my ears with some Clash or White Stripes or something.