Rags in Kerosene
Cincinnati based 'PICTURESHOW' debut CD ' Rags in Kerosene' produced by John Curley 'Whoa.' This is a gang-vocal hook from '18 Miles of Sound, ' one of the best tracks on the debut from spectacular newcomers pictureshow. It was also my first reaction when I cued up Rags in Kerosene on the ol' CD spinner. One of the most impressive local band debuts in recent memory, Rags is deep, dramatic Indie Pop unafraid of epic structuring and drenched in the kind of catchiness that enfolds the listener with soulful insistence rather than simply beating them over the head with rote blatancy. There's little rigidity or pandering in pitureshow's sound; the songs have a pouring fluidity that entrances and doesn't leave you waiting for a cookie-cutter chorus hook to repeat. The guitars sway from snaking chimes to jerky stabs to slanted rawness, creating a six-string swell that feels like an updated meshing of The Edge, Pavement and early Police, while the warm piano additives add to the darkly vibrant, visceral splendor. Urgently melodic and lyrically compelling, the album has some great songs that can easily stand alone, but Rags in Kerosene is best experienced as one sinuous whole. Pictureshow seems to understand the art of creating a cohesive 'album, ' something regrettably dissipating in our singles-happy, quick-fix, iPod culture. Pressed for concrete comparisons, I'd go with the recent, less murky work of My Morning Jacket, a less stoned Built To Spill or a less cacophonic ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. But one of the best things about pictureshow is that, while the sound rings with familiarity, they don't sound like any one predecessor. Instead, they take the best elements of some of Indie's finest purveyors and instinctively churn out an album on par with most of them. Pictureshow performs Thursday at The Mad Frog. (Mike Breen) Grade: A.