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This Saturday, a band called Détective plays a record release party at Burger Records in Fullerton — and yes, that accent mark is very intentional. Given the group says that it's referring to one of Jean-Luc Godard's films, one could be forgiven for thinking the band's sound is some sort of ye-ye, French '60s pop tribute — or maybe another riff on the combination of styles that Stereolab brought to bear. (And certainly the motorik chug of “Mouchette” comes notably close at points.)
But the sound here is the kind of rough-and-ready rock and roll that will have a lot of listeners flashing back about twenty years, not grunge at all but the larger world of indie rock that received more attention in the space grunge's success helped open up. This in part is thanks to the background of one of its two key members — James Greer, both a writer and, most notably via a stint in Guided by Voices, a musician with some background in the style. So is his musical partner Guylaine Vivarat, who's appeared in bands like Useless Keys and Tennis System.
However Strange, the debut cassette by the duo (with help from drummer Rory Modica), is a short, sweet and almost perfectly put together dose of listening that embraces a kind of lost meaning of 'indie,' less about neo-campfire singalongs and more about moody raveups and sweet-but-never-cloying contemplations. Soft duets on songs like “Telephonia,” matched against a kind of inspiring guitar surge that thankfully doesn't sound like U2 at all but which does sound like a classic Flying Nun number from the 1980s, further seal its appeal. And just hearing an involving, softly anthemic song like “Rose Encyclopedia” seems like those two decades plus haven't really changed at all — not so much a nostalgia kick as a lovely continuation.
Détective play with the Memories, the Shivas and Acorn Bcorn on Saturday August 18th at Burger Records in Fullerton, 9 pm, all ages.