Sarandon: Tom Greenhalgh (Drums), Crayola (Vocals & Guitar), and Alan Brown (Bass)
You know those “what if” scenarios people like to come up with? What if B
uddy Holly were still alive and recording music? What if Biz Markie had never recorded “Alone Again”? What if a hardcore punk band turned to indie rock? Well, I could spend a long time arguing the hypothetical repercussions of the first two scenarios, but I can provide a short, concrete example of what the third might sound like by introducing you to Sarandon, a trio from South London.
I tell you these guys really kick out the jams on their newest album Kill Twee Pop!. They have the chaotic energy that a hardcore rock band has with frenzied guitar playing and plenty of drum fills, but they rely more on catchy riffs and solid song structures than just going crazy on their instruments. And replace wild screaming with more low key yet still highly invigorated vocals that are reminiscent of The Ramones or other classic punk rock bands of that era. You really get a great feel for their style once the album’s title track starts off the listening experience. Once that song got into gear, everything I was going to say about Sarandon in this post popped into my head all at once and I knew I was going to love the rest of the album.
One particular aspect of Kill Twee Pop! that really sticks out is the quick and precise musicianship, which I briefly touched on above. As I also mentioned, Sarandon’s music has a sort of speedy madcap style to it, but everything is played so cleanly that it sounds incredibly clean and coherent. This is a stark contrast to bands like Melt Banana or The Locust where everything tends to meld into a wall of sonic fury. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, that’s what I love best about those two bands, but it’s nice to have groups like Sarandon come in and mix things up. Even so, they do seem to indulge in moments of seemingly more improvised noise making at the very beginning of “Very Flexible” and towards the end of “Massive Haircut” along the lines of their more cacophonous sibling bands.
Of all the great instrumentation, I particularly enjoy the heavy, dead-on drumming on this album. I always love a good drummer and Tom Greenhalgh manages to stray away from the typical rock percussion to come up with some great, catchy beats that really add some oomph to the tracks. “Remember Mavis?” stands above the rest as an incredible track for outstanding drumming. Even if you aren’t playing the song loud enough to have your floorboards shake, you still feel vibrations going up through your legs just because of how much the drums are quaking up the album at that point.
Kill Twee Pop! is an album that I cannot recommend highly enough for those of you who like high energy rock music or hardcore punk. Sarandon is one of those bands that crosses boundaries and is hard to classify within one single genre, but all the better in this case; it gives more people with more diverse musical tastes something to agree on. At least I hope so. I bet Sarandon hopes so as well.
For more information about Sarandon, visit their MySpace page.