Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Red Button For President
Double digit unemployment. Iraq. Afghanistan. Bailouts. Sex Scandals. Mind-numbingly bad reality TV. Every time you turn on the TV, open up the newspaper or fire up the latest app to keep you up on current events, it seems that only news can break your heart. Well saddle up losers, because it's time for the antithesis of all that with the return of The Red Button and their shimmering new release, As Far As Yesterday Goes.
Singer-songwriters Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg's first Red Button disc, 2007's She's About to Cross My Mind, was one the finest debuts of the last decade. If names like The Beatles, The Zombies, The Left Banke and Big Star mean something to you, you can place your order here. If compilations like Poptopia and Yellow Pills ring your bell, you won't believe records like this still get made in 2011.
As Far As Yesterday Goes plays like an unwritten John Hughes movie, with looming heartbreak leavened by day-glo horns and impossibly sunny arrangements. Each chorus, each handclap and each strum screams pure pop. There are 60's nods everywhere - the "I Should Have Known Better" harmonica riff that powers opener "Caught in The Middle" to euphoric heights, the heavenly, Turtle-y "ba-ba-bas" of "You Do Something to Me" and album thesis "On A Summer Day" that plays like a full on celebration of Small Faces ultra-modness crossed with the elegance of Bachrach/David classic.
Fitting closer "Running Away" uses its Cat Steven cadence to posit that "it's never been harder to tune out the noise, the world just gets louder, can't hear my own voice", but ultimately the fight or flight is internal, everything else is just noise. And part of that loud world is The Red Button, whose timeless melodies cut through the noise to offer bite size bits of respite in the form of three minute paeans to help ease and understand the pain. They have my vote.