Rough Frame

The Art Museums

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Rough Frame Review

by Tim Sendra

The Art Museums derive their sound from a very specific time and place. The time is the mid-'80s, the place is the Television Personalities’ rehearsal room. Glenn Donaldson (who’s also in the Skygreen Leopards) and Josh Alper have made a thorough study of the whimsical, undeniably catchy mod-pop that the TVP’s and other bands released on head Personality Dan Treacy's short-lived label Wham Records. The results of this education are displayed on the duo’s debut mini-LP, Rough Frame. On it they deliver nine songs that are true to the spirit of their heroes’ sound, to the point where their slightly shambolic, lo-fi songs sound like they could have been released on Wham Records Well, maybe with a little polishing, that is. The Art Museum’s sound is more 2010 lo-fi than 1987 lo-fi, with more echo and fuzz than a band on Wham Records would have used. (The drum machine the Museums use also sounds like a more recent model.) It’s one of the things that keeps them from being mere copycat revivalists. The other is that the songs are hooky. Too many bands think that recapturing a lost or forgotten sound is enough and they forget to write songs that have memorable choruses. These guys didn’t skimp on that, as just about every song on Rough Frame is blog-worthy. It’s a promising debut that packs a nostalgic punch. Dan Treacy would be proud.

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