Dance funk folk punk?
Mississippi's The Red Thangs is known for energetic live shows all across Mississippi. It shows in their blend of infectious vocal harmonies, tasty and tasteful horn stabs, and catchy guitar riffs. This is music to move a room, to get down and lose yourself, forget your problems for an evening, drowning your problems in sweaty abandon.
It is pop music, pure and simple, no matter how many alternative identifiers they adopt on their self-titled debut album The Red Thangs. The production is superb throughout and helps with the visceral impact of the songs.
The album opens up with the chords from The Clash's “London Calling” strummed on ukulele, on “Self Unconscious.” This is part of what is great about this record. There's something righteously awesome about the energetic rebellion of punk rock being absorbed into different forms and styles, and it's thrilling to watch pop being infused with a riotous current. But the fact that this insurgent anthem has been translated onto the harmless ukulele let’s us know that this mongrel has had its teeth pulled.
The vocal performance of "All Dressed Up" is one of the best on the album. The vocalist delivery is somewhere between scatting/singing and was reminiscent Ryan Kattner from Man Man. An overall infectious song that is hard to deny. Some of the production tricks they implement aren't overboard and fit perfectly into the song such as the cut up the vocal sample they detune.
Icarus is another success which features Blair Bingham on lead vocals. When the chorus hit the vocal line is pure pop goodness and you will be singing along by the end of the song.
As the album progresses the band delivers a number of other highlights which you won't want to miss including "Now? Now!", "Commonwealth", and the emotional resonant "Canadian Dream".
The Red Thangs make pop music but it never feels cheesy or contrived on their self-titled album. This is a great album to close out the summer.
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