April 28, 2010

Harlem Shakes//Strictly Game

I had been meaning to check out Harlem Shakes (Todd Goldstein aka ARMS is the guitarist) for ages. Finally did, and I'm not disappointed. On the contrary, I'm kind of addicted to their one and only full-length album Technicolor Health.

The album is filled with hooky songs that recall a more poppy/more accessible Animal Collective (yes, even more acessible than Merriweather). Not to say the album is perfect--it has its flaws. First of all, what's with referencing "game" and "the game" in every song? It works when you're watching The Wire, but not when you're listening to five white boys make indie rock. It just seems so...fratty? Yes? Second, the band publicly stated that they were trying to make something that recalled "90s optimism," which is sometimes nice and sometimes annoying.

That said, when it's not too poppy, it's great. The recordings are interesting, with thoughtful arrangements and the writing is really good (if you like this song, check out "Niagara Falls," which is downright beautifully composed).

Sadly, Shakes broke up last year. I always have this thing for recently broken-up bands. It's stupid.

This song, which walks the very thin too-poppy-or-just-poppy-enough tightrope with the precision of an indie Philippe Petit, is instantly likable. It's the kind of song you find yourself putting on repeat, and feeling a bit embarrassed about. The world isn't all sunshine and roses--that's for goddamn sure. But I suppose it's ok to pretend once in a while.

Strictly Game.mp3

I'm sick of slow rock.
I'm sick of quick quips.
Sick of holding onto nothing,
When I just want to hold your hips.


Charlotte said...

I'm all about using "fratty" as an insult, but come on. This is one of the most amazingly underappreciated albums of recent memory, and they're never going to release anything else.EVER. to critisize the use of the word game within an album entitled Strictly Game and even envoke frattiness to make your point, seems misguided. Or maybe desperate. If you like it you like it, Why do you have to take out your spectacles and find something to make fun of?Harlem Shakes forever and ever. Hope that comment wasn't too fratty.

g said...

Chill, Charlotte. Obviously I liked it enough to post it and tout it. No need to get your hot pink Tri-Delt thongs in a twist.