“Crushin’ Diamonds With Her Teeth”
Pageants are good. Straight-forward statement for a straight-forward band. The group, which hails from Melbz, Australia execute their slight hard edged surf-rockiness with clear musical ability and pizzaz. The opening riff to “Crushin’ Diamonds With Her Teeth” displays this rougher edge with a distinct sexiness (a la Uma Thurman after she snorts cocaine in Pulp Fiction and glides to Urge Overkill’s cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”) that pours forth from the darker sounding Beach Boys guitar hook. Undoubtedly a good song to put on a before a night on the town (but perhaps sans the line of coke). Although Pageants’ emit a garage-rock sound, the lo-fi aspect doesn’t factor in with their distinct instrumentals and vocals. Feedback pops up intermediately, mostly as a way to fade a song out as oppose to being a constant presence. The absence of lo-fi works well for the band since they ride a more retro vibe and their tightly executed melodies might be lost behind too much reverb.
Pageants step back a bit and show a softer side on “Airbrushed Dolphins” with its jingling melody and gliding guitar riff. Soft backing vocals add a dreamy, slightly doo-wop vibe bringing to mind an image of a grittier Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. “Airbrushed Dolphins” concludes with clever guitar and drum solos, wrapping the song up nicely. One of Pageants strong points are their intriguing instrumental refrains and its gratifying to hear them take center stage. One of the dangers of the surf-rock sound is that it runs the risk of becoming repetitive in unskilled hands, but Pageants’ hands are quite deft. Their prowess shines in the subtle twists given to each song, keeping their catalog sounding fresh. “Portuguese”, a sweet tune on the hardships of long distance love supplies one of the finest drum beats heard in quite some time. The rumbling percussion serve as great support to the lamenting vocals of “oh baby come back home, I bet you can speak Portuguese” and truly ties the ode together. The lowered beat retains a powerful quality without ruining the tenderness put forth in the mournful lyrics. Pageants are currently unsigned, but given their innovative take on surf-rock it seems very likely (I hope) that that they will get the chance to make a great EP in the nearish future.
By: Stephanie Glass