erasing clouds

The Consultants, Work From Home

reviewed by dave heaton

Is there a better feeling than when you put a great pop album on the stereo for the first time? One where bright, catchy, downright perfect melodies bounce along with an optimistic sense of urgency, while sung in a sweet, soft, slightly sad way? The NYC-based band The Consultants' debut Work From Home is one of those albums, perfectly formed and ready to invade your heart and mind.

Album-opener "Hollow-Bodied Evening" is the perfect introduction to the band's sound. Lead singer/guitarist Marisha Chinsky paints a vivid scene of a sad night on the town, in search of connection, while the music consists of the upbeat shuffle of your dreams. The rest of the album matches that great start. In the textured, thick yet melodic guitar and bass lies the Echo & the Bunnymen/New Order/'80s influence that the band and fans are likely to mention from time to time, while Chinsky's vocals and the generally energetic tone give the band a classic indie-pop feeling, reminiscent at times of Heavenly and Tiger Trap.

The Consultants' descriptive lyrics nicely set up a scene and then also load it with feeling. Titles like "Contents of My Head" and "Internal Monologue" are appropriate to the impression that the band's songs give voice to one person's view of the world, through particular moments, fully realized in song. Several songs capture that universal human feeling of uncertainty – what should I say, what should I do, what's going on with my life.

As the album proceeds towards its inevitable end, its sound gets hazier and dreamier, while the emotions and melodies remain just as potent. The band's web site declare that the album "will provide essential mix-tape material for years to come." That seems like a minor claim at first, but the more I think about it the more appropriate it seems…not only because any song on here would sound great on a mix tape, but because of the songs' warm, honest, personal quality. In other words, they're songs that fans of pop music will hold near and dear to their hearts.


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