SOME ARMY – Some Army

January 01, 1970




Emerging earlier this year with a favorably-received
limited-edition 7″ single, Carrboro-based six-piece Some Army now makes a
proper debut, and the seven songs here more than justify the praise to date.
Spearheaded by erstwhile Honored Guests frontman Russell Baggett and featuring players
culled from the regional ranks of the Guests, JKutchma, Aminal, Katharine
Whalen and Doleful Lions, the band’s stock-in-trade is, on the surface,
dreampop-tilting indie rock, due in part to their reliance on slow-burn
melodies, arrangements that pulse rather than surge, and atmospheric flourishes
(keys, guitar effects, deep-mix harmony vocals, etc.) lining the edges. But
there’s virtually none of the mellow languor typically associated with
contemporary nü-gazers; the trance induced by this EP is of a synapse-strafing
sort, the band set on “stun” rather than “lull.”


To that end, Some Army isn’t likely to be grouped alongside
such Pitchfork-anointed
flavors-of-the-month as Beach House, Real Estate, Tame Impala, etc. The music
is understated, yes, and with a plethora of soaring, easy-on-the-ears melodies
for listeners to latch onto, it’s “dreamy,” too. But there’s staying power. On tracks like “We’ve Been Lucky,” a gentle-but-insistent bass/drum thrum
bolstered by precision fretboard plucking and hints of harmonica, and “Servant
Tires,” which marries strum to hum and a peal of slide guitar teases a
compatriot axe into a deep, dark twang, one hears a band more closely aligned
with psychedelic Americana – cosmic cowboy-era Byrds, perhaps, or contemporary
Beachwood Sparks – than anything spawned by 4*AD Records. (For the latter tune,
add Go Betweens as a reference point, too; and as we all know, the G-Bs were
always far more influenced by American bands than British.) The anthemic “Under
the Streetlights” conjures images of another band that’s as Americana as they come while still putting its own unique stamp on the concept: My Morning Jacket, perhaps the group’s closest
peer. In “Streetlights,” Baggett vocalizes with an uncommon urgency and the
group, riding a purposeful beat, steadily builds to a satisfying climax of
guitars and keys, a trick that they pull in several songs( which additionally
bodes well for the material’s live incarnation).


Some Army’s still a work in progress, but with a
rapidly-developing sonic identity and Baggett’s songwriting gifts firmly in
place, the promise this group displays is immense. Put more personally: meet my
new favorite Tarheel band.


the Streetlights,” “We’ve Been Lucky” -FRED

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