Saturday, December 18, 2004

Black Tie Dynasty: This Stays Between Us, Idol Records

Black Tie Dynasty combines New Wave and Britpop with gothic style and sublime energy, a Psychedelic Furs for the aughties. With cryptic and compelling lyrics, This Stays Between Us has my vote for best-titled album, and I’m fine with it that’s it’s only January. It’s a solid debut for the Fort Worth-based band. Beginning with organ-like synths that impart a gothy darkness and nicely balance the bouncy beat and danceable guitar, “Crime Scene” is the single. Best is the lyric: “It looked like a crime scene, covered up in ice cream.” The bridge, however, extends the song just a bit too long. Three minute songs should be the forte of BTD, but most on the EP stretch past four or, gulp, nearly six. The seamless transition between “Ghost of a Secretary” and “Souls at Zero” makes them almost two parts of the same song. The consistency between these six songs leaves me wishing the band would stretch their musical chops a bit more, but also firmly establishes their sound.

What to say to that soon-to-be ex-girlfriend insisting she can’t live without you? Sweetly sing her the second song for starters, with its catchy hook “I’m gonna let you, diiii-iiiiii-iiiii-iiiie.” There must be a few broken hearts trailing vocalist Cory Watson’s kohled eyes. With a voice more silken than Morrissey’s and more masculine than Robert Smith’s, Watson wanders paths New Wave left wide open. Brian McQuorcodale on synths/keyboards showcases his counterpoint to Watson’s Echo and the Bunnymen-inspired guitar riffs while Eddie Thomas’ pulsing drums and Blake McWhorter’s bass complete the band. Black Tie Dynasty is heavily ‘80s retro, but freshly done, not rehashed. It’s good to have this energy coursing again after Grunge and Emo have burned out.

You’re thinking about it right? What exactly would a crime scene covered in ice cream look like? I told ya. And the forecast reads: MTV.

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