Friday, February 15, 2008

Cartoon Popsters from Minneapolis

Anybody interested in power pop should check out The VandaliasMach V (1995). The Vandalias were a power pop cartoon band in the 90s. They created some great pop and starred in a comic book. The core of The Vandalias, Dan Sarka and Kent Militzer, continued making music in another band called Stingray Green. I haven’t checked them out yet, but I probably should. Apparently, they are going to play their final gig at IPO on 4th of May. Wonder what comes next…

Mach V is a very strong album with 14 songs on it. I’d Be a Boy is heavenly, Hey Now (Motor City) is brilliant and Mighty Song of Joy is excellent, starting with a tempting rock’n’roll guitar riff. To me, Build This House is the highlight of this album: an excellent arrangement is combined with some of the prettiest melodies one could ever imagine. In fact, the strong element that holds the whole of Mach V together is the wonderful sentimentality that shows basically all over the album.

The title track Mach V, in my opinion, is a great example of how power pop mixes very loud, distorted guitar sounds, very beautiful melodies and melancholy together. On the other hand, Cathy’s Back appears to be a quite different song. It contains nice wah-wah sounds and overall a much lighter arrangement. The song also sounds happy and sad at the same time, which I think is a feature that appears in many power pop songs. So, to cut a long story short, Mach V album contains some nice musical variation.

One more thing… I have to say that I really like the singing voice of The Vandalias’ lead singer JimJim Vandalia (the voice is provided by Dan Sarka). Again, one very expressive and high-pitched voice, somewhat unusual, too… And really cute!

Some day I’ll probably muse about The Vandalias’ second album Buzzbomb! when I’ve given it enough spins.

The Vandalias at MySpace
Stingray Green at MySpace

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