Friday, October 30, 2009
Album: Because Because Because
Recording Date: 1991-1992
Rating: ******* (7/10)
Released under the radar this fall, this collection of six songs by oft-forgot indie band Because Because Because offers a rare taste of unheard songs from one American indie rock's best eras. The songs are cutting indie gems with sweet English pop melodies from frontman and principal songwriter Robert Randall, a British ex-pat. With sharp and aggressive yet lightfooted guitar hooks, Because Because Because displays a perfect balance of pop and punk-influenced rock.
Because Because Because paired Randall with to-be Nada Surf founders Matthew Caws and Daniel Lorca, along with drummer Blake Gomez. Unsurprisingly, the music does sound a lot like early Nada Surf, but with a richer sound and less quirk. "The Slow" builds with tense drumming and glistening guitar to an anthemic chorus. Later in the album, "Her Power" provides an excellent example of 90's indie songwriting - simple and catchy, it rocks hard and never looses focus.
According to a source close to the band*, Randall and Gomez published this album without informing Caws and Lorca, who apparently didn't particularly want this material in distribution. Caws only recently became aware of the release after seeing it for sale online. It remains to be seen whether he and Lorca will take any action against their former bandmates or Sutton Music Group, and there is no evidence that Randall and Gomez were beyond their rights in releasing the record.
This album is not a lost masterpiece, it is not revolutionary in any way. But for fans of this era of music, for those who prefer their pop-punk without all the gloss and certainly for Nada Surf fans curious about the band's roots, the album is well worth getting your hands on. And I recommend doing that as soon as possible, since there's a very real possibility that a potential lawsuit from Caws and Lorca could cause the album to be pulled from circulation, at least temporarily. You can get it on CD Baby, iTunes (I think) and probably some other places.
*I know I don't delve into real journalism very often so it seems prudent to reassure you that this is not bullshit.