Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.
We're looking a little to the north this week, but LA does have its good points, after all.
It could be argued that '80s nostalgia has come too far with the opening track of Risers' self-titled debut EP, but there are no dramatic synth noises or Maury Povich voice-overs here. Instead, it's halfway between anthemic charge and quirk via keyboard squeals. It's a very 21st-century way around indie rock, further helped by the members' backgrounds in acts such as Anglos and Walking Sleep.
There's a flair for jaunty drama throughout the five-song effort, with Sean Miller's keyboards acting as one of the lead instruments. There is some darker, slightly theatrical vocals from guitarist Josh Thorpe, and the feeling is a bit like Mike Garson's underrated work for David Bowie over the years. The slick charge of "Devil's Game" and the peppy kick of "Rites of Spring" show how well it can all work, but the slower numbers at the end showcase their talents even more clearly.
"Can't Get There From Here" makes for a good closer--it's not an R.E.M. cover, more of a wrap-up-the-evening number that shuts down a club as the last drinks are being downed. But "Perforated Lungs" might be the real winner of them all, a slower, moody piece in which piano and guitar back up a slow, descending chorus that's actually the most glam rock moment on the release.
Now all the band needs to do is play here more. Or move, whichever works best.
The full EP can be streamed and downloaded here