Move over, Giant Drag. Monsters Are Waiting are the next crunchy, cute-as-a-button indie rock act to scribble their initials on our collective hearts. Unlike so many young front women these days, Annalee Fery isn't going for a Karen O or Jenny Lewis retread. Rather, she murmurs dreamily over the band's droning, candy-coated numbers, which splash down somewhere between Lush and recent Blonde Redhead.
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The Echo Park quartet is about to set off on a cross-country tour with Maximo Park, a perfect chance to showcase their first full-length, Fascination. The album fuses the vibe of '80s new wave and shoegaze, '90s alt-rock, and current bubblegum indie amid Fery's aw-shucks singing and gauzy keyboards. "Ha Ha" is urgent and swirling, as Fery delivers the titular sound as an almost-sarcastic cough, and "Fascination" is in a similar mold, with radio-ready guitar and an Interpol-worthy blend of busy bass and dense effects. It's more a stab at the mainstream than "Ha Ha" but just as easy to sink into.
"Nobody" is spacier, the rhythm section gently bubbling up over pleasantly simple guitar. Jonathan Sibels and Andrew Clark swap bass and guitar for different songs while Eric Gardner holds down the drums. Fery gets a bit weepy, announcing, "He took a bite/He spit me out" and later, "I'm a nobody." If that wasn't enough, the line "My world came crashing down" makes "Nobody" an easy target for teenage girls looking for the next song to stare at the ceiling to.
But don't be scared of Monsters Are Waiting just because they wouldn't sound out of place on your kid sister's stereo. (They've already had a song on One Tree Hill.) Instead, compliment her taste, lend her your Dressy Bessy CDs, and skip happily into the sunset together. Hey, it could happen.
Monsters Are Waiting, The Deadly Syndrome, Dynamite Walls, Pop Noir and Our Time in Space perform at Chain Reaction, 1652 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 635-6067. Tues., 7:30 p.m. $10. All ages.