[Locals Only] Playing the Lyrics Game

Lyrically Speaking

Calling your band “the Lyrics Game” opens you up to certain scrutiny. The name actually comes from the somewhat-universal time killer of music fans quizzing one another to identify songs by their words, but it still suggests—fairly or not—that the Long Beach/Cypress group think their lyrics are somehow memorable. LetNs take a look . . .

On “Touch,” the opener of their five-song EP Home Edition (released in January), singer Brittany Walker begins with a tale of “waiting at a crowded station.” The next song, “Mexico,” details “driving to Mexico.” (Clearly the Lyrics Game had transportation on their minds when writing the record.) When listening closely, itNs apparent the band take their lyrics seriously: “Touch” does a good job of conjuring images of a creepy dude stalking his prey in said crowded station (“reach out and touch her nightmare/sheNs starting to get nervous”); “Mexico” reveals that drive to be considerably more somber than a party bus to Tijuana (“distance between us is growing”). These words are more concerned with telling a story directly than clouding messages in metaphor, even if it sometimes comes out a bit obvious. (Another “Mexico” lyric: “With your leaving, INm here without you.” Well, yeah.)

Walker and guitarist Dan Howe have been writing music together for seven years, but the band as a whole (rounded out by cellist Chris McCarthy, bassist Matt Carranza and drummer Brandon Morrison) have only been together since 2007. Adding a cello to a rock band is always an interesting choice (see Cursive, Murder By Death), though itNs not highlighted much on Home Edition—live is likely a different story. The sprawling “Pyramid” is the recordNs standout track, both musically and lyrically, with Walker turning unapologetically self-referential: “I know that itNs wrong to write and sing this song.”

The Lyrics Game with Marcia Ford, DonNt Touch That, Mirror Mirror and Heavenly Led at diPiazzaNs, 5205 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 498-2461; www.dipiazzas.com. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $8. The Lyrics Game can be found online at www.myspace.com/thelyricsgame.

Hey, Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, contact info, high-res photos and upcoming show dates for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or e-mail your link to ac****@oc******.com.

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