The Molly Bolts
It's sweet when bands put the decongestant-addled 4 a.m. deadline-jitter blather I write about them in their press sheets (and sweeter still when they don't reproduce my spelling mistakes). And so the Molly Bolts, a band I evidently called "spiky," have turned in a demo that may be a little too smooth for their own good. Live, these kids were all self-possessed grins and a stand-back-she's-gonna-blow! intensity not far removed from the wonderfully spastic abrasiveness you'd hear on an early Pixies album. But this demo is more demure, a shy pat on the head rather than a punch in the arm. Luckily, you can't keep good kids all the way down: the uptempo garage-pop "Prizefighter" bounces along like a lo-fi something you would have heard on Sympathy back in the pre-exploit-Detroit years, with bassist/singer C. Elizabeth Lindsay wavering between the affected disaffect of that dog's Anna Waronker and the infectious anticharisma of Team Dresch's Kaia Kangaroo (it's a little self-conscious, but not in an unpleasant way). "Fade" and "Regret for Adolescent Transgressions" are as pretty and dreamy as the titles would intimate—when I was 15 and sucking up anything that came out on Simple Machines or K (or was a reasonable facsimile thereof), this would have soundtracked all my lonely late-night drives. "Alicia" is an instrumental, a little uneven (turn up your drummer, Mike; he's good!) but a direction I'd love to see the Molly Bolts pursue. Listening to 'em scorching the finish off their guitars makes me remember the way guitarist Vicky Torres' melodies scurried all over the front room at Koo's Art Cafe and the way Lindsay half-shouted, half-laughed out the first lines of "Debaser" after a sheepish false start. More of that, kids—pop is always about personality. (Chris Ziegler)
It's a cheeky name for a band, something that's sure to confound and rile those not in the know (we can already see the Abbott & Costello remake: "Hey, what band is this?"). But we grasp the concept of wanting a moniker that doesn't promise too much. And the music on No One Special's Silver Stars Fade EP is mostly good, four songs (five, counting the ubiquitous but clichd hidden track) of quiet-to-midtempo rock & roll. The band seems most interested in setting evocative moods, with songs about broken hearts and relationship stuff bound together with distortion pedals, lightly colliding guitars, steady rhythms, honest-to-God melodies—hummable ones, too!—and the throat of one John Moriarty, a guy who can actually sing—and quite well, too. It's not more of that ultratired, ultradull, nu-metal schlock we keep getting in our mail, so No One Special at least get props for going against the dictates of the Modern Music Marketing Machine. Their tunes certainly are commercial and well-crafted enough to maybe one day make it big ("If" feels like a big, show-stopping, chart-topping power ballad, which would be great if this were still the power-ballad era). Sadly, you don't hear music like this on the radio anymore; we'd be happier if proved wrong. (Rich Kane)
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