Corner Laughers Capture California Goodness in Catchy Pop

22 Apr

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Every so often, I like to take a step back and blog about an indie album that’s not new, but that deserves your attention (or is worth a second spin). I’m traveling this week — enjoying some of California’s most beautiful scenery in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

So now is the perfect time to dust off an outstanding indie pop-rock album from a band that truly captures the California spirit.

Poppy Seeds by the Corner Laughers is a set of sunny anthems dedicated to the Golden State. The four current band members make their home in the San Francisco Bay Area, so there are many local references — from high profile namedropping such as Mt. Tamalpais, the Transamerica Pyramid and SF Giants catcher, Buster Posey — to lesser-known landmarks such as the Aquarius theatre in Palo Alto or “cruising down Judah” in the City.

The album opens with a sugary sweet, lighthearted song called “Grasshopper Clock.” Karla Kane’s vocals are sung with such a smile that the song would be perfect for a kid’s song collection.

“Bells of El Camino” makes it clear that this is going to be much more than a soundtrack from the Nickelodeon television show. The song is reminiscent of 1960s pop, with jangly guitars, Kane’s bright ukulele lead and rich harmonies. In fact, that’s a trademark of the Corner Laughers — wonderful harmonies interwoven throughout their songs.

“Transamerica Pyramid” is one of my favorites on the album — a really strong pop-rock tune with clever lyrics and a solid hook. The track also pays homage to the Beach Boys at one point. Play “Transamerica Pyramid” a few times and you’ll find yourself humming it the rest of the day!

I also really like “Perfect Weather,” the closing track in the 12-song set. It’s another song with a bit of a throwback sound, with frequent Bay Area references in the lyrics.

There are other fun pop songs as well, some with obscure themes such as “Chicken Bingo.” What is Chicken Bingo?

If you haven’t heard of the Corner Laughers, this CD is an ideal introduction to their music. Amazon carries it, or you can always visit their web site. And rumor has it — a new album from the band may be forthcoming in the not-too-distant future. Yay!

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