Trashcan Sinatras- Fez (Bobame)
review by Joe del Tufo

Track Listing

1. easy read
2. all the dark horses
3. got carried away
4. how can i apply...?
5. wild mountainside
6. freetime
7. the best man's fall
8. i'm immortal
9. hayfever
10. leave me alone
11. only tongue can tell
12. what women do to men
13. drunken chorus
14. you made me feel
15. send for henny
16. earlies
17. the safecracker
18. in capitals
19. trouble sleeping
20. weightlifting
21. the therapist

2004’s Weighlifting marked the return of one of the most overlooked bands going, The Trashcan Sinatras. With their breezy brand of innocuous indie-pop, they were quickly muffled by the growing grunge rage that swept the industry at their height. Weightlifting arrived over eight years after the almost entirely ignored A Happy Pocket, and over fourteen years removed from their seminal Cake debut. With their second release in as many years, and their first US tours in ages, it seems that the Sinatras have finally found an era that suits them.

Musically, little has changed in the fifteen year run that the Trashcan Sinatras have given us. The strummy and upbeat Only Tongue Can Tell plays well with the more percussive but still jangly and buoyant All The Dark Horses, despite the fact that they are separated for almost fifteen years. Indeed, most of the tracks on the band’s four releases could literally be shuffled and the experience would still be seamless to the listener.

So it was with great pleasure that I listened to the Sinatra’s new live release- Fez- a compilation of acoustic performances recorded at the Fez in New York during the Weightlifting tour. Fez arrives as a glorious, 21 track journey through the band’s history, but with a stripped down consistency that makes it sound both immediate and cohesive. Opening with the spectacular Easy Read from their sophomore I’ve Seen Everything disc, we quickly find that the acoustic Trashcan Sinatras are no compromise and, if anything, much of the music is brought into greater relief. Highlights abound, from the tinkling anthem Got Carried Away, A Happy Pocket’s strongest track How Can I Apply, and the hits Hayfever and Only Tongue Can Tell. The recent track Freetime translates particularly well to its acoustic version, sounding even fuller than its Weightlifting counterpart. One of my favorite early tracks, The Best Man’s Fall with its classic line “If you don’t give a damn, you’re welcome to keep it” shines in this acoustic version.

With the Fez recording we’re given a very discrete sense of place- a dusty, little room with a small but energetic crowd on a rainy winter night in New York. The recording has great character, depth, and dynamic range for an acoustic performance, and the performance itself is spirited. Surely, with all of their classic songs, a fan is always left wanting more and noting some of the classics not performed here. But in all, it’s a full 79 minutes of pure Trashcan Sinatras bliss. The release serves both as a welcome introduction and taster to the band, as well as a must-have for anyone already familiar with them. Fez is the cherry on top of the Welcome Back cake that we’ve gotten from the Sinatras these last two years. Here’s to more in 2006!

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