From Jeff Gramm's innocent and sentimental mini-song "Intro," it's instantly clear that Topsiders marks a new era for Washington, D.C.'s, Aden. The maturation of Gramm and company is evident throughout, with their graceful poise and nonchalant indie pop seeming tighter than ever on this disc. Gramm seems to be even more confident in his soft vocal approach. The most single-ready track might be "Pop Song," with Cheryl Huber's co-vocals serving as a breathe of fresh air. The banjo twang of "River's Rising" marks new territory for Aden, while "The Chase" is as graceful and smooth as any of the band's previous efforts. "Boggle Champ" is inarguably the most rousing and potent track on the disc. It's followed by another back-porch reflection, the painfully short "Smiles and Frowns." "Intertwining Hands" was a natural album-closer. It's Aden putting their best foot forward, with its sentimental lyrics and summery instrumentation leading the way. On Topsiders, the band added Matt Datesman on drums to the already stable lineup of guitarist/vocalist Gramm, and guitarists Kevin Barker and Fred Kovey. Sasha Bell of Essex Green and Ladybug Transistor guests on two tracks. The album was recorded in Maryland and New York. It was released by Teenbeat Records in mid-2002.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer