Friday, October 12, 2012

Legendary Wings: "Making Paper Roses" (album review)

What do you do when you live in the barren wasteland that is Kalamazoo, MI?  Well you get some buddies together and rock out in a garage.  That's exactly what seems to have happened with Kalamazoo's Legendary Wings and their debut album Making Paper Roses.

Don't expect anything fancy when you put on the album.  No, this is the sound of guys who have spent a lot of time with their dads' Stiff Little Fingers records.  It's brash and enthusiastic, with cymbal crashes inspired by the spirit of '77.

From the opener, "Nachos", you can tell you're in for a clattery time.  High octane tracks like "Pure" and "What Can I Give" slam at you relentlessly.  The late '70s D.I.Y. production quality makes songs like "Lover" into full-on punk tributes, with an almost live performance feeling.

Hooks aren't prevalent, but they aren't absent either.  The muffled vocals (a result of either shitty recording or shitty mixing) don't drag down the uber-catchy "Think I'm Dumb", while "Spacehead" could pass for a punked-up cover of a Beach Boys cruising track like "Little Honda".

The mid-tempo numbers like "Dumb" and "Seeing Walls" seem out of place here.  They're perfectly fine songs on their own, but amid the bombastic frenzy of the rest of the album they comes across as merely ho-hum.

Yes the production quality could be better.  And yes there could be some more hooks.  And yes at fifteen tracks (plus a hidden cut) the songs do begin to sound alike after a while.  But there is a lot of potential in Legendary Wings.  Making Paper Roses is that raw first stab that

Best tracks: "Think I'm Dumb", "Spacehead"

Track listing for Making Paper Roses:
  • Nachos
  • Lover
  • Too Far
  • Think I'm Dumb
  • Cartoon
  • Pure
  • Good Food
  • Spacehead
  • Time
  • Dumb
  • Be Alone
  • Paper Roses
  • Seeing Walls
  • What Can I Give
  • Sun

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