Monday, December 5, 2011
Five O'Clock Heroes Are From A Different Time
Five O'Clock Heroes might be from New York but they certainly don't sound like they belong there. This clearly Anglophilic band has more in common with the entire Postcard Records catalog than anything the 99% of the New York scene have or ever will do. So in touch with classic 80's British pop sensibility are Five O'Clock Heroes, this band apparently hasn't bought a record since somewhere around 1988 and quite possibly thinks that Edwyn Collins is still in Orange Juice. Sounding something like the best combination of Stiff/Postcard/and Rough Trade records rolled up into one, this is a band that know how to write pop music that has a classic feel to it and sounds far older than it really is. Their album is appropriately titled, Different Times and it's a title that seems to almost be the bands philosophy as there are probably no better time traveling popsters in America than Five O' Clock Heroes.
Different Times has all the elements that made so many of Orange Juice, Elvis Costello, and even the Futureheads records so great; angular guitars, jangly rhythms, lofty vocals, and a strong sense of sarcasm/irony/cynicism. These guys are truly firing on all cylinders and write romantic pop songs with tongues firmly planted in cheek. They're humorous, they're crafty, they're smart, and they're pretty great as well. "Boys Not Girls," is a quirky love song if there ever was one and it will throw you for a loop while the song lilts along in an almost English Beat kind of way.
It's not very often that a band like Five O'Clock Heroes comes along. With more and more bands taking the quick and easy new wave path to stardom, here's a band that realizes that the strength of British Pop has always been its ability to slyly subvert your brain into loving songs that are just a bit off center. Different Times is just that, a bit off center, and clearly a record not born of these times. Dressed in an anorak and Doc Martens, Different Times will shuffle it's way into you heart the way that Elvis Costello and Edwyn Collins did all those years ago. A certain classic that's not even a year old yet, but sounds like it was released 25 years ago, Different Times is one of my favorite non-British-British albums of the year.