When will Brooklyn stop churning out these wonderful indie rock groups, full of inventiveness, fun and oodles of originality? OK, Harlem Shakes don’t have the oodles as say TV on the Radio, but they are very fun and very inventive, and whereas Technicolor Health their debut album won’t set the world alight or have us critics pressing pause so we can stick in our headphone cans, they might just have us taking them for a drive in a VW Golf so we air-drum on the steering wheel. To do that whole -comparing thing’, they’re a little bit Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! (Brooklyn) and a little bit Spinto Band (non Brooklyn).
This album also comes peddling a little kudos after guitarist Todd Goldstein’s solo project Arms got rave reviews for last years alt-folk Kids Aflame, but Technicolor Health is a different animal with much more conventionally arranged songs and a much more technicolor outlook. -Nothing But Change Part II’ opens things up and sets the ball bouncing, and the bouncing doesn’t stop through -Strictly Game’, -TFO’, -Niagara Falls’ and -Sunlight’, all catchy summer tunes. -Niagara Falls’ is the best thing on Technicolor Health, it even sounds like they couldn’t wait to rush through the recording of it as it’s played with such pace and gusto, they were so excited by its sheer catchiness. This first half really is full of great tunes, tunes with the added weight of studio tweaks and keyboard melodies, not just catchy garage rock.
Downsides may be that the second half of the album is a bit of a mixed bag save for -Winter Water’ which displays a richer side to them and the musically sensitive types may find singer Lexy Benaim’s voice a bit nasally (I didn’t). Those who get the album without the excellent bonus track -Marian’ will really feel the weakness in the later half of the album.
Overall Brooklyn and its bottomless pit of alternative bands would be proud of Harlem Shakes, and Technicolor Health is a worthy addition to the Brooklyn canon.