July 29, 2010

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Douglas Martin never really had a crush on Tiffany. Or Molly Ringwald.

It’s safe to say Ryan Lynch knows a thing or two about nostalgia. In his primary employment as the guitarist of Girls, he assists in delivering heart-on-sleeve quasi-sock-hop music for kids neither old nor knowledgeable enough to remember Elvis Costello in his prime. Dominant Legs, the project he fronts along with keyboardist Hannah Hunt, he draws his inspiration from an entirely different source: the kitschy drum machines and glittery synths of 80’s mainstream pop. As we plunge headlong into a decade already well-marked by hyper-sincere odes to long bygone eras, Lynch and Hunt released debut EP Young at Love and Life at a very opportune time. But in this case, opportunity comes at a time where the sounds most indie bands are chasing after have hit their saturation point.

If you grew up on Reagan-era radio, Dominant Legs are an easy band to like; most of their songs sound as though they were born in the same studio as prime Tiffany singles, with the curveball being Lynch’s voice, which sounds freakishly similar to delightfully-cheesy indie-pop mainstay Herman Dune. The title track sounds like something you would throw on at a beach party, which is where the problem begins; there are already so many new indie bands who build sandcastles on top of their guitars in more interesting (the blissful superfluousness of Real Estate), innovative (the spindly guitars of Beach Fossils), and just plain catchier (Best Coast) ways.

All of the songs are well-written and expertly delivered (especially the “Let’s Hear it for the Boy”-esque “About My Girls”), but the only thing that separates the band from than, say, Teen Daze or whatever this week’s hot new band is, is the time period from which they mine their nostalgia. Nas once wrote, “No idea’s original, there’s nothing new under the sun/It’s never what you do, but how it’s done.” Of course, there’s a great deal of truth to the statement, but it’s also worth noting that there isn’t very much delineating this young band apart from the droves of other pale-faced city kids who make music that sounds like they want to be out in the sun, but are too busy making music to actually enjoy it. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it is ultimately the component that causes Dominant Legs to be lost in the shuffle.

Download:
MP3: Dominant Legs-“Clawing Out the Walls”

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